Skip to content

Silence in the Forest

October 6, 2014
by

This has been a long time coming, but I didn’t want to write a “closing shop” post until I was relatively certain. The fact remains that all I can ever be is relatively certain that I have written all I want to write about World of Warcraft in this space, but I nevertheless wanted to provide my blog with some form of closure.

As many of you already know, I stopped playing WoW several months ago. There are many reasons for my decision, but the simplest reason and also the one that matters most is that I merely wanted to spend my time doing other things. While I was frustrated with the development team’s failure to deliver content at a more consistent pace, I would have continued playing and raiding with my wonderful 10-person team had I been interested in doing so. Unfortunately, I feel that interest has probably passed for me.

Though really, this is both unfortunate and fortunate, in that time spent away from WoW has been time I spend doing so many other things – working on my house, playing different games, writing, and so on. I tried out WildStar, which is truly a fantastic MMO, but I found that I am simply no longer interested in games that come with time commitments. And I’m Ok with that.

So before I turn off the lights and lock the door, there are a few thanks I need to give.

Thank you to everyone who has read Tree Heals Go Woosh over the years. Your engagement with my writing via comments and tweets was extremely fulfilling and appreciated. Particular thanks is due to the many people who have taken the time to comment, tweet, email, or otherwise reach out to me regarding my Mistweaver guides. I am so happy that these guides were helpful to you, and I hope they helped you enjoy the class as much as I did.

Thank you to Beru, Jasyla, Keeva, and Cynwise. Your writing was what inspired me to create my own blog to catalog my experiences with this game. One of my favorite parts of being a member of the blogging community was getting to know you (and others) on a more personal level, and I am glad that I can call you friends now.

I am not done writing and I am not done gaming. I have something in the works at the moment to give myself a new, more general space where I will be able to write about anything that interests me. In the meantime, I am always around on Twitter, and I currently co-host both the Justice Points podcast (on gaming) and the Live From Satellite 5 podcast (on Doctor Who).

Thank you so much for reading and good luck in all your travels,
Tzufit

MMO Building Under WoW’s Shadow

April 29, 2014

Since I’ve been doing a lot of ruminating on Twitter recently, I decided to use Storify to compile some of my recent tweets about MMO endgame and WoW’s dominance of the market, in large part due to its superior raiding game. Below are a few preview tweets, and the full story is available here.

First Reactions to Mistweaver Alpha Changes

April 4, 2014

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I spent the morning worrying about how much I dislike change. That said, I opened up the 6.0 patch notes when they went live last night and got as far as “most of our changes to Monks will focus on Mistweavers” before I fell into a panic.

Having had a night to sleep on it and also knowing full well that a lot of these changes were coming, I’m in a better position to comment today. Overall I have a lot of concerns with what I’m reading so far, less because I am worried about the effects it will have on class balance and more because what I see makes me think that some of the fundamental defining aspects of the Mistweaver spec are going to change.

The full text of the Mistweaver patch notes is available on Blizzard’s official site. That link will take you directly to the monk changes.

Mana – We Want You To Want It

About midway through the expansion, it became clear that mana was not valuable for Mistweavers. We tried some adjustments to solve that, but it proved too large of a change to make at the time.

Though the patch notes tell us that developers want us to start caring about mana regen in the ways that other healing classes do, there is little in the notes themselves that clarifies precisely how that will happen. The notes contain a general comment that mana will regen quickly at low levels but “it scale up less at later gear levels.” A series of tweets from Celestalon later clarified that the design is intended to reduce the amount of Chi we are able to generate and spend, which will thus reduce the stacks of Mana Tea we can generate. However, since the notes discussed nothing about changes to Mana Tea, Chi Brew, or their interactions with Critical Strike (which is a huge part of what allows us to ignore mana regen currently) it seems that we may not have several pieces of the Mistweaver puzzle yet.

Now perhaps nothing about Mana Tea or Chi Brew is changing, but that seems very unlikely given Blizzard’s stated goals. The problem with Mistweaver mana regen is pretty simple: we have active mana regeneration, which is something that no other healing spec in the game currently has. As long as active mana regen is our primary way to return mana, we are never going to care about passive mana regen (or about conserving mana) as much as other healing specs do. It is what currently sets monk healers apart from every other healer in the game. Now, what we’re hearing is that it’s a bad thing that we are such an outlier and that does make sense. Balancing all your healing specs is hard enough when they all at least interact with mana in the same ways.

Here’s my problem. I would prefer to see active mana regeneration as the way of the future of WoW’s healers, much like active mitigation is now standard procedure for WoW’s tanks. While I recognize that WoW’s developers believe that triage is the thing that will make healing “interesting” and “challenging” again, I’m going to exercise my right to maintain a decent bit of scepticism regarding how successful the idea of triage can be in this game.

Active mana regen is a way to make healers think about their mana without having to work some sort of development magic with stats every tier. It is not the concept of active regen in and of itself that has made Mistweavers turn a blind eye to concerns about Spirit and mana pools, but rather the interaction that Mana Tea and Chi Brew have with Critical Strike. If that imbalance were corrected and perhaps Mana Tea adjusted somewhat, our on-demand mana return capabilities might not be so overpowered.

Therefore, what I would prefer to see rather than finding some way to bring Mistweavers in line with other healing specs, is rather to give the other healing specs an active regen mechanic as well. Obviously I am biased after playing a monk for this expansion, but my experience has been that the meta game with active regen is vastly more interesting and challenging to master than triage or stacking Spirit will ever be.

The innate problem with forcing the importance of mana via triage or limited mana regen is that it will always be a question of your healers casting less. The goal in this setup is maximum effective healing with minimum overhealing, and that sounds like a pretty good thing at first glance. Unfortunately, as long as you have classes who provide a significant chunk of their healing via heal-over-time spells, there will always be some classes whose overheal numbers are much higher than others. Additionally, with the revelation that the majority of currently instant-cast spells will now have a cast time, we will all be casting relatively fewer spells over a fight’s duration.

Alternatively, active mana regen encourages planning ahead and rewarding that planning with a chance to cast even more heals. Personally, I will always find this to be a more compelling model because it means I am doing more over the course of a fight. For this to be balanced, however, there would likely need to be some “downside” introduced into active regen that penalizes using Mana Tea (or other similar abilities) at the wrong time. For example, perhaps using Mana Tea would always remove a minimum of 5 stacks per channel, regardless of whether you cancelled the channel early. If you suddenly had to move during the channel or if you were at 90% mana when you used Mana Tea, then you would not get the full benefit of those 5 stacks and have effectively wasted some of them.

Chi – Where Does It Come From?

Two of our current Chi generators will be out of the picture in Warlords:

Crackling Jade Lightning no longer generates Chi for Mistweaver Monks.

Soothing Mist no longer generates Chi for Mistweaver Monks.

As things currently stand, it looks like the primary Chi generators for Misteavers will be Renewing Mist, Surging Mist, and Expel Harm; whereas Fistweavers will have Jab, Surging Mist, and Expel Harm. Assuming Chi Brew remains unchanged, this will also provide us with a cooldown Chi generator.

Per the Celesatlon tweets linked above, it is clear that we will be generating and spending Chi much more slowly than we currently do. This is probably my biggest concern with everything we have heard thus far. It seems that the way Mistweavers are to be brought in line with the rest of the healing classes is to effectively slow us down, via both the changes to Chi generation and to our GCD, which I will discuss below. It feels like a somewhat inelegant solution to our problem, and one that makes me worry that we will lose some of our overall flavor as a result. Mistwavers’ interaction with Chi and Mana and the fast flowing nature of that interaction is easily my favorite thing about our spec.

Haste – Playing the GCD Game

All abilities available to Mistweavers now have a 1.5 second global cooldown (up from 1 second).

Stance of the Wise Serpent no longer increases Haste from items by 50%.

Focus and Harmony is a new passive ability for Mistweaver Monks.

  • Focus and Harmony: Haste effects lower the global cooldown of your spells and abilities.

Currently Mistweavers have a 1 second GCD, which the patch notes say was to “to give them a faster combat feel.” Because that has made us devalue Haste, however, it means that our GCD will have a baseline of 1.5 seconds in Warlords and that any additional Haste we get from our gear or other effects will lower it.

Again, this is aimed not only at making us value Haste more than we do now but also at generally slowing down our playstyle. While this may serve to make Haste slightly more attractive to us overall, it is hard to imagine that anything will be able to beat Critical Strike if Mana Tea and Chi Brew remain unchanged, as discussed above.

Fistweaving – Changing Your Stance

As we’ve known for a while, Fistweaving will now require its own stance called the Stance of the Spirited Crane. Our Spell-Power-to-Attack-Power conversion effect and the passive Eminence, which previously allowed us to effectively DPS in Wise Serpent Stance, will now only be a part of Spirited Crane. This means we will need to choose whether we want to be Fistweavers or Mistweavers, although we will be able to swap between the two stances during a fight without penalty.

As a part of this change, certain DPS spells will only be able to be cast in Spirited Crane and certain healing spells will only be able to be cast in Wise Serpent:

The following abilities now require Stance of the Wise Serpent for Mistweavers:

  • Enveloping Mist, Renewing Mist, Soothing Mist, Uplift

The following abilities now require Stance of the Spirited Crane for Mistweavers:

  • Blackout Kick, Jab, Tiger Palm

Again all of this is expected and necessary, though it is a little disappointing to see Mistweavers being pulled back from that true hybrid style that many of us enjoyed. Still, as long as the penalty for swapping stances remains relatively minor (such as a GCD), then we will still have plenty of freedom of choice about whether we want to traditionally heal or damage-t0-heal over the course of a fight.

There are a few other common sense changes that follow from this separation:

Teachings of the Monastery now makes Spinning Crane Kick heal friends instead of damaging enemies, while in Stance of the Wise Serpent (previously, it would heal allies in addition to damaging enemies).

Mastery: Gift of the Serpent’s Healing Spheres now scale with Spell Power instead of Attack Power.

Serpent’s Zeal has been removed. Eminence now always includes Auto Attacks.Muscle Memory and Vital Mists have been merged.

Muscle Memory now requires Stance of the Spirited Crane, and passively increases the damage of Crackling Jade Lightning by 100%, causes Tiger Palm to trigger the Vital Mists effect, and causes Blackout Kick to hit 4 additional nearby targets for 50% damage.

Healing Spheres – Now Smarter & Explodeier

When a player runs through multiple Healing Spheres at once, only as many as needed to heal the player to full health will be consumed (instead of all of them if the player is injured at all).

Healing Spheres from Gift of the Serpent now heal an injured ally within 12 yards (up from 6 yards) for 100% (up from 50%) of their normal effect, when they expire.

Detonate Chi is a new spell available to Mistweavers:

  • Detonate Chi: Instantly detonate all of your Healing Spheres, causing each of them to heal a nearby ally within 12 yards of the sphere. 15 sec cooldown.

The changes to running through multiple spheres and the buff to the radius and healing done from our Mastery spheres will be very helpful for quality of life. Detonate Chi sounds like it should be a fun ability that is high risk/high reward and will require smart usage to get the most out of it. I am definitely looking forward to experimenting with it as soon as possible.

Questions & Concerns

Overall, I am worried that the Mistweaver spec may lose some of its appeal and flavor as a result of the changes here. I am most concerned about the forced slowing down of our Chi generation and spending in order to equalize our mana concerns with those of other healers.

I also am unconvinced that, without changing Critical Strike’s interaction with Mana Tea and Chi Brew, Mistweavers will be likely to desire Spirit or Haste on their gear. Critical Strike seems, in this very early stage, as if it will still provide the best return – and that return may still be powerful enough that the changes to Chi generation will not significantly alter our dependence on mana.

If the changes to Chi generation are successful, however, I am also worried that we may actually have a huge learning curve at the start of this expansion. It is impossible to understate how huge a change in our playstyle this would be if we truly go from focusing entirely on active mana regen to instead looking at mana as other healers do. This, I feel, would be a large step backwards in Mistweaver design philosophy.

Contrary to most of what we usually read, Mistweavers are in some ways the healers who spend the most time thinking about their mana. While we are usually not worried about running out of it per se, we are extremely concerned about spending enough of it that we generate the stacks of Mana Tea we need. Going OOM is neither fun nor compelling, and being scared to cast because we might go OOM is equally frustrating. Learning how to spend mana when necessary and then having complete control over how much and when we get that mana back – THAT is what defines this spec to me.

Talking Mistweavers on the Training Dummies

January 7, 2014
by

I’m dropping in on the Training Dummies podcast tomorrow evening to discuss all things Mistweavers. You can learn more about the podcast on their website or Twitter, and the podcast will be streamed live on their Twitch channel when we record tomorrow night. Please drop in to talk Mistweavers and ask lots of fun monk questions!

What:  Training Dummies
When:  Wednesday, January 8 @ 11 pm EST / 8 pm PST
Where:  Twitch Channel / Website

Mistweaver 101: UI & WeakAuras

January 7, 2014

ui and auras

Today we will discuss setting up a UI for a Mistweaver Monk. Obviously, UI choices can be very subjective so what works for me may not be ideal for you. Overall I have found that playing a Mistweaver, particularly if you intend to do much Fistweaving, requires a slightly more complicated setup than most other healing specs.  Your UI must be able to function for both healing and DPSing purposes, and this can make for a lot of keybinds and/or mousebinds.

My UI

My UI

I use Shadowed Unit Frames to manage my unit frames, as seen in the player and target portraits above. Shadowed Unit Frames is more or less ready to go out of the box, and I will not discuss it in this post as it is not particular to my Mistweaver setup. The other addons you can see in this image are Vex Power, for managing Mana and Chi, and WeakAuras for tracking cooldowns.

Read more…

Mistweaver 101: Cooldowns, Talents, & Glyphs

December 26, 2013

MW Cooldowns

Today we will review the Cooldowns, Talents, and Glyphs that we regularly use as Mistweaver Monks. This post will primarily focus on the uses of these abilities in raiding environments. An upcoming post will suggest some ways to get the most of your cooldowns and talents in specific fights in Siege of Orgrimmar.

Raid Cooldowns

revivalRevival

Revival is a large, instant heal that affects everyone within 100 yards of you. It also dispels all Magic, Poison, and Disease effects from anyone it hits. It can be used once every 3 minutes.

Revival is our go-to major raid cooldown. Because it is instant, however, and not channeled like Tranquility or Divine Hymn, it can be a difficult to decide when in a major damage spike we should use it. My rule of thumb is generally to use it as far into a damage spike as I comfortably can, to ensure that it does as little overhealing as possible and so that players come out of the damage phase relatively close to full health. Alternatively, if much of the raid is low and I know we are about to go into a major damage phase, I may use it in advance to make sure we keep everyone standing.

While the dispel is incredibly helpful, you generally do not want to use this cooldown for the dispel alone since the heal is so powerful. The only time I have found it helpful to use Revival primarily for the dispell is on the second or third door on Horridon, where the stacking poisons and diseases could quickly become unmanageable at lower gear levels.

life cocoonLife Cocoon

Life Cocoon places a large shield on your target that also increases all “periodic healing” taken by 50%. (Periodic healing means heal-over-time and channeled spells like your Renewing Mist, a Druid’s Rejuvenation, a Priest’s Renew, and so forth.) The tooltip says that it lasts for 12 seconds, but this is misleading. Life Cocoon will only last for a full 12 seconds if the entire shield isn’t consumed in that time.

Currently, my Life Cocoon usually places around a 600,000 absorb shield on its target. If I put that on my one of my tanks, then it is probably going to be consumed before that 12 seconds is over, depending upon what abilities the boss is using at that time. All of this means that the increase to periodic healing isn’t really the main selling point of the spell, and it’s not something that you want to count on.

Use Life Cocoon when your tank is taking a large amount of damage, or when they are below 50% health and you need a bit of a buffer to give yourself time to heal them back up. You can use it when you know they are about to take a big hit, or if they call that they are out of cooldowns. You can also use it on DPS who have pulled aggro (if you feel like saving them), or really anyone who is taking a large amount of damage in a short period of time.

If you glyph Life Cocoon, then you can use it while you are stunned. This can be very helpful in PvP situations, but has limited use in a raiding environment.

Personal Cooldowns

Fortifying BrewFortifying Brew

Fortifying Brew is a standard damage reduction cooldown that increases our health by 20% and reduces the damage we take by 20% for 20 seconds. It has a 3 minute cooldown and we should use it anytime we know there will be a large damage spike.

Fortifying Brew can be modified with a glyph that changes the spell so that our damage taken is reduced by 25%, but our health is only increased by 10%. For healing Monks there is little difference to Fortifying Brew’s effectiveness regardless of whether we take the glyph, so we are likely to bypass it in favor of 3 Major Glyphs that modify our healing.

zen meditationZen Meditation

Zen Meditation is probably our least understood personal cooldown. It reduces our damage taken by 90% and it can redirect up to 5 harmful spells cast against your allies to you. It can be channeled for up to 8 seconds and has a 3 minute cooldown. If you are are the victim of a melee hit, however, the channel will end.

It is important to understand that the redirect portion of this spell will work against almost nothing in a raiding environment. There are a few exceptions to this rule in Siege of Orgrimmar, but they are all abilities cast by trash packs or adds rather than bosses themselves. As a general rule, Zen Meditation’s redirect will usually work on anything that a Shaman’s Grounding Totem or a Warrior’s Spell Reflect also works on. In short, don’t count on the redirect to work on anything while you are raiding. If it does, that’s a bonus.

The main benefit of Zen Meditation is the 90% damage reduction. As stated in the tooltip, a melee hit will cancel the channel so you cannot use it to save yourself if you have adds swarming you. While I have not personally tested this, the comments on the WoWHead page indicate that it will absorb the damage from the very first melee hit you take, after which it will cancel. The spell can also be glyphed so that you can channel it while moving (meaning you will need to hit Escape if you want to stop channeling it.)

Zen Meditation is best used when there is a large and predictable damage spike, especially if that spike happens in a single hit. A single hit is preferable because, while you are channeling Zen Meditation, you will not be able to heal or do anything else. Thus, if you use Zen Meditation through the large hit and then immediately cancel it, you will have negated the damage and also be able to quickly heal up the rest of your team. In some fights, Zen Meditation can also allow you to solo abilities that would usually require a group to stack up in order to split the damage. (This was particularly helpful for Static Shock on Lei Shen, for example.)

Talents

Since the talent changes made at the start of Mists of Pandaria, there is no standard set of talent choices for a spec 100% of the time. I frequently go through at least a stack of Tomes of the Clear Mind in a raid night. That said, below we will discuss each of the talents available to us and when we might want to use them.

Tier 1 – Movement

talents15

Celerity allows us to Roll 3 times instead of 2, and it also reduces the cooldown on our Roll to 15 seconds instead of 20. This talent can be very helpful in movement-heavy fights where we need to move frequently but not necessarily travel a long distance.

Tiger’s Lust is a buff that we can place on ourselves or our teammates that increases movement speed by 70% for 6 seconds and also clears all immobilizing and movement-impairing effects. It has a 30 second cooldown. Because a single Roll is often enough for me to get out of harm’s way, I often take Tiger’s Lust so that I can give it to one of my teammates who does not have a speed burst.

Momentum gives us a 25% speed increase for 10 seconds after we Roll. The buff can stack, so if we Roll twice in a row, we will get a 50% speed increase. This talent is helpful in fights when it is necessary to have a speed boost for a long period of time, such as when we need to kite adds or maneuver through a very large room.

Each of these 3 abilities is perfectly viable in most PvE situations and this tier choice is largely personal preference. I generally run with Tiger’s Lust because it is the only choice that allows me to provide a speed boost to someone else if they need it.

Tier 2 – Free Healing

talents30

Chi Wave has a 15 second cooldown and can be cast on either a friendly or enemy target to do damage or healing. It will then “bounce,” up to 7 times, from an ally to an enemy to an ally, and so forth. It always bounces from ally to enemy, never to 2 allies or 2 enemies in a row; and if there are no more enemies to damage, then the spell will simply end. Chi Wave is the best option in this tier for fights that require the raid group to be spread out, as the other 2 talents are dependent upon your raid being grouped up.

Zen Sphere is a heal-over-time that lasts for 16 seconds with a 10 second cooldown – meaning you can have it up on 2 targets at once. This spell will place an orb over its target’s head that pulses for both healing and damage every 2 seconds. If its target reaches 35% health, then the sphere will detonate for an added burst of damage and healing. It will also detonate if it is allowed to expire, which you should allow it to do. You will never want to refresh a Zen Sphere on the same target or you will not get the burst of damage and healing it does when it detonates at the end. When I use this spell, I typically place either a sphere on each tank or 1 sphere in melee and 1 in ranged. I find that it is most helpful in fights that require my team to group up but are not suited to Chi Burst.

Chi Burst has a 1 second cast and is a “skill shot” ability, meaning that the spell does not require a target but will instead fire out in the direction your character is facing when she casts the spell. Chi Burst will always heal you, and it will also heal or damage any ally or enemy that it hits along its path. This talent has a 30 second cooldown and can be great for any fights that require your raid group to stack tightly, or on fights that have low-health adds spawning on regular intervals. It actually does quite a lot of damage and can easily help your group quickly pick off a pack of adds. That said, if you have difficulty with the skill shot mechanic and worry that you might not be able to consistently aim the spell, I would recommend choosing something else.

I frequently swap between these 3 talents depending upon the mechanics of a fight. For a fight like Thok, during which most of my raid group will be stacked up but I do not want to have to worry about a cast time, I will take Zen Sphere. On a fight where my raid group is stacked and we will have adds on a predictable timer (such as Sha of Pride), I may take Chi Burst. If the group is spread out, or if I intend to Fistweave for the majority of a fight, then I will take Chi Wave. When I am first learning a fight, I usually default to Chi Wave as it requires the least setup and is most forgiving if the group is not tightly stacked.

Tier 3 – Chi Modifiers

talents45

Power Strikes is a passive ability that procs every 20 seconds and causes our next Jab, Soothing Mist, Spinning Crane Kick, Expel Harm, or Crackling Jade Lightning to generate 1 additional Chi. Essentially, each of those abilities will now generate 2 Chi instead of 1 every 20 seconds. If you are already at maximum Chi, a Chi Sphere will be summoned near you. These are small grey spheres that you can walk through to gain back 1 Chi. 

Ascension is a passive that increases your maximum Chi by 1 (so that you will have a possible total of 5 Chi instead of 4) and which increases your maximum Mana by 15%. 

Chi Brew is an active ability that has 2 charges, and for each charge it will give you 2 Chi and 2 stacks of Mana Tea. Each charge has a 45 second cooldown. You can use the charges back to back and you will have 1 charge back again after 45 seconds, and a second charge will return an additional 45 seconds after that.

As discussed in the Chi & Mana post, Chi Brew is currently considered a “mandatory” Mistweaver talent. While Ascension may seem appealing because it increases our Mana pool,  Chi Brew is superior because of the on-demand stacks of Mana Tea and the burst healing that 2 guaranteed Chi can provide.

Tier 4 – Crowd Control

talents60

Ring of Peace places a green circle around yourself or a team member that lasts for 8 seconds. Any enemies inside the circle will be instantly silenced and disarmed for 4 sec. If the enemies within the circle attack or cast harmful spells, they will be disarmed and silenced for an additional 4 sec. This ability does not work on raid bosses themselves, but it can work on many of the adds in most raid environments. If you have adds who need to be silenced or disarmed, and who are usually in range of at least one member of your group, then this spell can be helpful. Ring of Peace has a 45 second cooldown.

Charging Ox Wave is another “skill shot” ability like Chi Burst, meaning that it will fire out in a straight line from the direction that your character is facing. It will travel 3o yards in front of you and stun all enemies that it hits for 3 seconds. It has a 30 second cooldown. I tend to prefer Charging Ox Wave for any fights that have adds that need to be controlled because I can fire it off from a distance without having to check if there is a friendly player in range as I would with Ring of Peace. Again, as with Chi Burst, the downside to this spell is that managing the skill shot aspect can take some practice.

Leg Sweep is an area of effect ability that knocks down any enemies within 5 yards of you and stuns them for 5 seconds. The short range means that you will need to be quite close to the enemies that you want to stun, but it can still be very helpful when you need to get away from a mob that is attacking you or help your group control a pack of adds.

Any of these talents can be useful on fights with adds that are able to be stunned, disarmed, or silenced. Keep in mind that Charging Ox Wave is a “skill shot,” meaning that you do not have to be near a mob to stun it, as you would with Leg Sweep, but it also means that you probably don’t want to take it if you have difficulty accurately aiming the shot.

Tier 5 – Personal Damage Reduction

talents75

Healing Elixirs is a passive ability that can proc every 18 seconds. If you fall below 35% health, Healing Elixirs will heal you for 15% of your health. Also, if you drink your Chi Brew or Mana Tea while you are injured, you will be healed for 15% of your health. This talent is generally not taken by Mistweaver Monks, both because we should constantly be healing ourselves with Expel Harm (which has a much shorter cooldown) and because the other 2 abilities in the tier are much stronger for us.

Dampen Harm is a self-buff that has 3 charges, which last for 45 seconds or until all 3 charges have been used up. If a damaging ability hits you that would deal more than 20% of your health, Dampen Harm will reduce the damage you take by half. Dampen Harm has a 90 second cooldown and you can cast it while you are stunned. It is helpful on fights that have very large hits within a 45 second period. It is important to remember that the actual damage per hit must be large (more than 20% of your health) in order to proc the charges. Therefore, this ability would not be helpful on a fight in which there is a lot of sustained, small hits going out over a period of time.

Diffuse Magic is a very powerful self-buff that reduces all spell damage taken by 90% for 6 seconds. Because it only reduces spell damage, it is important to review a boss’ abilities before the fight starts to see whether the large damage spikes are physical or spell damage. In most cases, you will find that the largest hits (for non-tanks) are from spell damage, and so this talent will usually be your strongest choice. Diffuse Magic has a 90 second cooldown.

Healing Elixirs is not helpful for Mistweaver Monks. Diffuse Magic is generally the best possible choice in this tier, unless a fight has major physical damage spikes. I generally only take Dampen Harm for the Iron Juggernaut fight so that I can help my raid team by soaking Crawler Mines. In most fights in Siege of Orgrimmar, I prefer Diffuse Magic. It is also important to remember that as you gear up and gain additional health, Dampen Harm may not actually proc on the same abilities that it used to because 20% of your health would now require a larger hit.

Tier 6 – DPS Abilities

talents90

Rushing Jade Wind replaces our Spinning Crane Kick ability and changes the spell. Instead of being out of control of our character when we use this ability, Rushing Jade Wind places a healing wind around us that heals our allies and damages our enemies. It lasts for 6 seconds and, just like Spinning Crane Kick, it generates 1 Chi if it heals or damages at least 3 targets. Rushing Jade Wind provides more powerful healing and damage than Spinning Crane Kick does. Remember that if you do take this talent, you should not take Glyph of Spinning Crane Kick because you will already be able to move at 100% movement speed. Rushing Jade Wind can be helpful in fights that require your group to be tightly stacked and that have a lot of group damage.

Invoke Xuen will summon a controllable tiger pet that attacks your primary target and also does area-of-effect lightning damage to enemies within 10 yards of himself. Xuen lasts for 45 seconds and has a 3 minute cooldown. Xuen provides a decent burst of passive damage (and healing via Eminence) and can be helpful on nearly any fight. Xuen also requires the least amount of management on your part of the talent choices in this tier, so if you aren’t comfortable with the way that Rushing Jade Wind or Chi Torpedo work, then Xuen is probably a good choice for you.

Chi Torpedo replaces your Roll ability and makes you travel farther than Roll. When you use Chi Torpedo, you will travel approximately 25 yards and you will heal and deal damage to any enemies or allies who are in your path. Essentially this is a free ability that can potentially do a very large amount of healing if you are good at aiming it. If you choose to take Chi Torpedo, you should certainly pair it with the Celerity talent in the first tier so that you are able to use it 3 times rather than 2. You generally would not want to take Chi Torpedo if your raid group is too spread out to be able to hit several targets, or if you absolutely need your Roll ability for mechanics that require you to move quickly.

Chi Torpedo can be a very powerful healing ability if your raid group is tightly stacked and if you are comfortable with aiming the spell. While Rushing Jade Wind can be a very powerful group heal, it does require your group to be tightly stacked and can be a strain on your Mana. Xuen is a good choice for fights that require the raid to spread out, or if you are not comfortable with the additional management that goes into using either Chi Torpedo or Rushing Jade Wind.

Glyphs

For the most of raid encounters, you will want to choose three of the following Major Glyphs:

Glyph of Renewing Mist changes Renewing Mist so that it jumps to the furthest player within 40 yards of the original target, rather than the closest player within 20 yards.  The glyph is desirable especially in raiding situations when a group has to be spread out. I generally prefer to run with this glyph, as the number of situations where I would prefer that Renewing Mist is capable of traveling 40 yards greatly outnumbers the times when I’d prefer that it stayed within 20.

Glyph of Surging Mist is recommended if you are Fistweaving because it will make your Surging Mist into a smart heal that automatically heals an injured player without you needing to target them. It is not especially helpful when you are not Fistweaving because if you cast Surging Mist while channeling Soothing Mist, then you will still only be able to heal your Soothing Mist target with that cast. As such, the glyph is relatively pointless for a stand-back-and-heal style Mistweaver because we never hard cast Surging Mist.

Glyph of Enduring Healing Spheres increases the duration of our Healing Spheres (both those we summon manually and those generated from our Mastery) to 4 minutes. While we rarely cast Healing Spheres during a raid fight, we often end up generating quite a lot of them through our Mastery. My raid group has become especially adept at picking up the “green power pellets” and so I end up doing a very respectable amount of healing from my spheres over the course of a fight. Simply put, the longer your Healing Spheres last, the higher the probability that someone will run through them (even unintentionally) at some point during the fight.

Glyph of Spinning Crane Kick should be used anytime that you intend to make use of Spinning Crane Kick in an encounter so that you will be able to move at 100% speed while you channel the spell. It should not be used if you take the Rushing Jade Wind talent.

Glyph of Zen Meditation allows you to use Zen Meditation while moving, and it can be useful in fights where you need to mitigate a large hit of damage while on the move. Remember that if you take this glyph, you will need to hit Escape or use a /cancelaura macro to end the channel.

Remember, as discussed in the Chi & Mana post, the one glyph you currently do not want to take as a Mistweaver is the Glyph of Mana Tea.

Up Next: UI & WeakAuras

The next post in the series will cover some of the Mistweaver-specific challenges you may face when you set up your healing UI. I will also review the WeakAuras that I use on my Monk and provide export strings for those auras. As always, questions and comments are welcome!

Mistweaver Q&A

December 20, 2013

I’m taking a break from guide writing today, but I wanted to pause for a moment to point out some good questions that have been asked so far.

First up, from @liopleurodonic:
Q:  “If you’re focused on fistweaving, is it better to use a traditional healer stat stick or should you consider weapon damage first?”

A:  You want a traditional healer stat stick and weapon damage doesn’t matter a bit to you. The reason for this is our Stance of the Wise Serpent, which makes our attack power equal to 200% of our spell power and makes it so that we no longer benefit from other sources of attack power. This conversion gives us enough attack power via our spellpower that it would greatly outweigh any difference in weapon damage from one weapon to another. Additionally, only our damage (and thus the healing done via our damage) would benefit from an increase in attack power, whereas our entire healing arsenal benefits from increases to spellpower and Intellect.

Next, from @Zelgadys14:
Q:  “Wondering if you can talk about what is the desired rotation for fistweaving?”

A: Unfortunately there really isn’t a rotation, per se. Similarly, one of the comments on the Fistweaving post pondered whether it is “even POSSIBLE to do a full fistweaving rotation … and be viable from a mana perspective.” As the commenter rightly pointed out, if you shouldn’t Jab twice in a row, then it becomes difficult to build up multiple Chi at a time to use Blackout Kick, Uplift, etc. This is really where the “weaving” aspect of Fistweaving comes into play.

Obviously you aren’t going to do a ton of healing and you are likely to get bored really quickly if all you ever do is Jab and then Tiger Palm to consume the 1 Chi you generated. So that means that if you choose to Fistweave, you will still be constantly working your healing spells into your rotation as well. Expel Harm should still be used every time you are below 100% health. You should still frequently use Renewing Mist so that it is already on the raid if you need to uplift. The free and instant Surging Mists you get from Vital Mists will still grant you 1 Chi, so you will get an extra 1 Chi for every 5 Tiger Palms.

From Gruffertus on the Chi & Mana post:
Q:  “Mana Tea is a buff that stacks to 20, and Mana Tea is also a channeled spell that returns 8% mana per second. What’s the connection between them? What’s the difference between channeling at 1 stack and 20?

A:  You have an ability that you can use called Mana Tea. Mana Tea the activated ability can only be used if you have a least 1 stack of the buff, also called Mana Tea. So the button for the active ability will be greyed out until you have at least 1 stack of the buff.

Having multiple stacks of the buff increases the amount of time that you can channel the activated ability, and thus the amount of Mana you can return. So if you have 10 stacks of the buff, you will be able to return 40% of your Mana over a 5 second channeled cast – if you allow the full channel. If you have 10 stacks but only need to get 20% of your Mana back, then you simply press the active ability and then move/cancel the cast once you’ve gotten back as much Mana as you need. You lose stacks of Mana Tea as you channel the spell. So if I start with 20 stacks and I channel long enough to use up 10 of them, I will still have 10 stacks left to use later.

Finally, from Andrew on a comment on the Fistweaving post:
Q:  “Roughly speaking, how much of a DSP gain/healing loss is Fistweaving?”

A:  Believe it or not, I happen to have some specific data on this, thanks to working on Heroic Fallen Protectors last night. I began the fight standing back and doing traditional healing, until it became apparent that our DPS would not be able to beat the enrage timer if I didn’t help out and Fistweave. (I recognize the intense irony of that statement, given my assertion yesterday that Fistweaving is not mandatory for success. But as I also pointed out yesterday, for different raid groups at different points in their progression, various things may be considered “mandatory” that are completely optional for folks who are doing LFR, Flex, or Normal raiding. In a 10-man heroic fight with slightly low DPS, I found it was necessary to Fistweave to defeat the encounter.)

But I digress.  Comparing 2 pulls of Heroic Fallen Protectors, one where I did not Fistweave and one where I did, I see my HPS output drop by about 40,000 when I was Fistweaving. I see myself drop from top healing to second on the meters. My damaging abilities did around 90,000 DPS, for about 5% of the total damage done. This is in 565 iLevel gear in a 10-man raid setting, and during a fight that has a pretty significant amount of both tank and group damage going out. Obviously your mileage (and mine) is going to vary somewhat depending upon your gear, your raid, and the fight.

***

Thanks very much to everyone reading for all the positive feedback, questions, comments, and for passing these guides along to your friends. I really do appreciate it and we will get back into the next portion of the guide over the weekend.  I am also looking to stream some Mistweaver 101 content in the near future, so please subscribe to my Twitch channel if you would be interested in viewing that.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,503 other followers