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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Today we are finally going to talk about “Fistweaving!” I spent the first few posts in the series dancing around this topic specifically because it can be very difficult to understand and to do well. This guide will explain what exactly Fistweaving means, how it works, when we should use it, when we shouldn’t use it, and whether it is essential to Mistweaver healing.
It is also very important to note that the information contained below will certainly change with the release of Warlords of Draenor. Celestalon, one of the Blizzard game designers who is now handling most class design questions, has confirmed that Fistweaving will be substantially changed in the new expansion. Currently, Mistweavers can use both healing and damaging abilities in our healing stance. Blizzard intends to change this in Warlords of Draenor and create 2 separate stances – one specifically for Fistweaving and another for a more traditional stand-back-and-heal method. Thus, any information outlined below is likely to hold up only until we get a 6.0 patch.
What is Fistweaving?
Mistweaver Monks are able to heal our allies using our damaging abilities, and this is known as “Fistweaving.” The reason we are able to do so is because of a passive ability called Eminence. We gain the Eminence passive anytime that we are in Stance of the Wise Serpent. Since Wise Serpent is one of the abilities we learn as soon as we choose the Mistweaver spec at level 10, we are able to provide healing by doing damage from level 10 onward, though some of the specific buffs and debuffs we apply will come later.
Eminence converts 25% of the damage we do into healing, and it will only heal allies who are within 20 yards of us. Additionally, only non-autoattack damage will be converted to healing, so we cannot simply right click on the boss and do nothing else. Non-autoattack damage is any ability we must actually click/press to use (Jab, Tiger Palm, etc). Eminence is a “smart heal,” meaning that you cannot control who is healed by the damage you do. It will automatically heal an injured player in your group.
Our Jade Serpent Statue also interacts with the damage we do. The statue has its own version of the Eminence spell, which also converts 25% of your damage done to healing. The effects can stack, which means that if someone is within 20 yards of you and within 20 yards of your statue, then they will receive 50% of your damage as healing.
How do Mistweavers DPS?
Mistweaver Monks have 5 abilities that we use for damage:
Jab is our primary Chi generator when we are Fistweaving. It has a high Mana cost (8% of our Mana) and always generates 1 Chi. Note that the spell icon for Jab will change depending upon what type of weapon you have equipped. We must be within melee range of our target to hit them with Jab.
Tiger Palm costs 1 Chi and deals a moderate amount of damage to our target. It also applies a debuff to our target called Tiger Power, which allows our attacks to ignore 30% of our enemy’s armor. The debuff lasts for 2o seconds.
Each time you use Tiger Palm, you will gain a stack of a buff called Vital Mists, which reduces the cast time and Mana cost of your next Surging Mist by 20%. The buff stacks up to 5 times, and at 5 stacks your Surging Mist will cost no Mana and be instant cast.
This is where the Glyph of Surging Mist that we discussed yesterday can be handy. If you have an enemy targeted to do damage but want to use a free, instant-cast Surging Mist to heal an injured ally, then the glyph will allow you to do so without having to swap targets. The usefulness of this really depends upon how your action bars and interface are set up. Personally, since I use keybinds for damaging attacks and mousebinds via VuhDo for healing spells, it is just as easy for me to keep my hostile target and click in VuhDo to heal the person I want with my Surging Mist. Others may prefer to keep Surging Mist as a keybind and will find the glyph more helpful in that case. We’ll discuss some of the pros and cons of both setups in the upcoming UI post.
Blackout Kick costs 2 Chi and for Mistweavers it will hit not only your primary target for full damage, but also up to 4 additional nearby targets for 50% damage.
Blackout Kick also gives us the Serpent’s Zeal buff, which lasts for 30 seconds and allows our autoattacks to heal for 25% of their damage done. As with Eminence, Serpent’s Zeal affects our Jade Serpent Statue, causing it to also heal for 25% of our auto attack damage. Also as with Eminence, these 2 buffs can stack so that our autoattacks will do 50% of their damage as healing to any injured players who are in range of both the Mistweaver and her statue.
This means that as long as both we and our statue are within 20 yards of everyone in the raid group, and as long as we keep the Serpent’s Zeal buff up on ourselves, we will heal our group for 50% of our autoattack damage and 50% of our non-autoattack damage.
Crackling Jade Lightning is our ranged damaging spell. Like Soothing Mist, it has a 30% chance to generate 1 Chi. This is not something that we would work into a normal melee Fistweaving rotation, but if we are forced to stand at range then it is a way to continue dealing damage and generating Chi.
Spinning Crane Kick is an area-of-effect (AoE) damaging and healing spell that will generate 1 Chi as long as it hits (meaning damages or heals) at least 3 targets. For 2.25 seconds, it will spin your character around and slow her movement by 30% while it deals damage or heals anyone within 8 yards. If you intend to use this ability regularly, you should take the glyph that will remove the movement speed penalty. You are not entirely in control of your character when you use Spinning Crane Kick, in that you can still move her but you cannot use any other abilities until it finishes. If for some reason it is necessary, you can cancel the channel with a /cancelaura macro or by right clicking the buff on your character.
In order to generate the 1 Chi from hitting 3 targets, you can hit 3 different targets at any point during the channel of the spell. If you hit 2 targets at the start but miss another that is close by, you can move to that target before the channel ends to ensure that you generate your Chi.
Spinning Crane Kick actually does quite a bit of damage and is a great way to pick off low-health targets in a 5-man dungeon or a raid trash pack. It does, however, cost 7.2% of your Mana each time you cast it, so it is unlikely that you will be able to use it several times in a row without running out of Mana.
Choosing the Rushing Jade Wind talent in your level 90 talent tier will transform this spell and change the way that it works. We will cover that change in the Cooldowns, Talents, & Glyphs post in this series.
Fistweaving Mana Management
Fistweaving can be incredibly Mana-intensive if you are not careful about how your abilities interact with each other. As you can see above, our primary Chi generator is quite expensive. To counteract this, we have a passive ability called Muscle Memory.
Muscle Memory is a buff that will appear on your character after you successfully Jab a target, or hit (damage or heal) 3 targets with Spinning Crane Kick. You will know that it has activated because you will notice that your Tiger Palm and Blackout Kick buttons will have a gold outline around them and will light up. When Muscle Memory is active, your next Tiger Palm or Blackout Kick will deal 150% additional damage and, most importantly it will return 4% of your Mana.
This means that Fistweaving is not “Mana-neutral.” I will spend either 8% of my Mana on Jab or 7.2% of my Mana on Spinning Crane Kick, and then only return 4% with Muscle Memory. This also means that we must be very careful not to waste Muscle Memory when we get it.
If I Jab a target and then immediately Jab the target again, I have just wasted Muscle Memory. The buff does not stack, so if I do not Tiger Palm or Blackout Kick before I Jab again, then I have lost the ability to regenerate 4% of my Mana from that first Jab.
Here’s a simple scenario: I have 1 Chi. I use Jab to generate a second Chi, and then I spend that 2 Chi on Uplift. Now I have left Muscle Memory on myself and I have no Chi to use either Tiger Palm or Blackout Kick. In this situation, I would probably want to use any other Chi generator besides Jab (so perhaps Expel Harm or Soothing Mist, or maybe even Chi Brew) to get enough Chi back so that I can Tiger Palm or Blackout Kick and use up that Muscle Memory before I Jab again.
That may sound complicated but it is an important point to understand if you want to Fistweave. You never want to Jab several times in a row without using up the Muscle Memory buff each time. Because Fistweaving is already Mana-expensive and because even with perfect Muscle Memory use you won’t return all the Mana that you spend, it is essential that you weave those Tiger Palms and Blackout Kicks in between your Jabs.
Fistweaving While Leveling
From levels 10 until you have access to both Renewing Mist (at level 42) and Uplift (at level 62), I highly recommend Fistweaving as you heal in low-level dungeons. Because Mana regeneration is much faster at lower levels, particularly if you are wearing heirlooms, you will be much less likely to run out of Mana than you are at 90. You will also find, again particularly if you are wearing heirlooms, that you do quite a bit of damage as a low-level Mistweaver. You may find yourself topping both the healing and the DPS charts in your dungeons.
You will gain access to Muscle Memory at level 20, and I recommend that from that point on you practice switching between Jabs and Tiger Palm or Blackout Kick to use up the buff each time. While you will not need the mana return at this level, it is a good idea to get used to this style of healing early on so that it feels more natural at 90.
Some of the passive abilities described above, including Vital Mists and Serpent’s Zeal, are granted through a passive called Teachings of the Monastery that you will learn at level 34. Teachings of the Monastery will also grant a passive damage increase to Tiger Palm and Crackling Jade Lightning, so you are likely to see yourself doing increased damage after this point.
At level 62 you will learn Uplift. At this point, I suggest running a few dungeons in which you do not Fistweave at all. It may be a little boring if you have an overgeared tank, but it is extremely important to learn how your traditional healing spells work, too. Once you are comfortable healing without Fistweaving, slowly begin to reintroduce your DPS abilities back into your rotation. As always, ensure that you are using up each proc of Muscle Memory as you Jab so that you will be used to doing this when you hit max level.
Fistweaving at Level 90
At max level, Fistweaving can serve many purposes. It can be a fun way to run through some Heroic dungeons or scenarios, especially when you outgear the content. (Again, depending upon gear level you may find yourself at the top of both the healing and DPS meters once more.) In progression raiding, Fistweaving can also provide that needed extra DPS to beat a boss’ enrage timer.
Yet Fistweaving at level 90 is also considerably more difficult than it is as you level up. Raid boss abilities are far more likely to be unfriendly to melee than a low-level dungeon boss’ abilities are. If you choose to Fistweave on boss fights, it is absolutely essential that you understand the bosses’ mechanics from the viewpoint of a melee DPS.
Mana management also becomes a constant and more challenging concern than while you are leveling. The vast majority of beginner and mid-level Mistweavers will find that they generate less Chi on average when they are Fistweaving than they do when they stand back and heal. This means that you will also have fewer stacks of Mana Tea to go to when it is time to refill your Mana pool.
Particularly if you are raiding in a traditional 10-man setting with 2 healers, you will find that while Fistweaving can supplement your healing and provide a solid DPS boost to your group on some fights, there is no way that Fistweaving alone will do enough healing to keep your raid standing. It will be essential for you to use a combination of DPS abilities and your traditional healing spells. Additionally, if you are looking for sheer heals-per-second (HPS) output, Fistweaving will almost always provide lower HPS than traditional healing for beginner and mid-level Mistweaver healers. So, given all that …
Do I Have to Fistweave?
The simple answer: No.
Fistweaving is a lot of fun and it can help your group’s overall DPS. But it is absolutely not essential to Fistweave to be a successful Mistweaver healer. Frankly, if you are having difficulty with keeping people standing as you are healing now, I’d recommend removing Fistweaving from your rotation, healing using the spells described in the Basics and Breakdown posts, and seeing if that doesn’t improve your success.
Some of the resources and guides for Mistweaver Monks will tell you that you must Fistweaver in order to get the most out of your healer. As always, keep in mind that guides are written from the perspective of their authors, who are perhaps progressing at a very high level and do need to provide as much DPS to their raid group as possible in order to defeat encounters.
But again, if you are healing as an LFR player or a generally casual raider who is progressing through a raid tier well after world-first kills have happened, Fistweaving is entirely optional. If you feel comfortable standing in melee and if you are able to generate enough Chi through Fistweaving to reliably regenerate your Mana, then go for it.
Also remember that you can pick and choose fights to Fistweave versus heal traditionally. Mistweavers are very lucky in that the game perceives us as melee players, regardless of whether we are actually standing in melee. Many abilities that do not target melee will not target us, meaning that if there is a boss whose mechanics are more of a headache for ranged players (Siegecrafter Blackfuse’s sawblades or Jin’Rokh’s orbs, for example), then we can stand in the melee pile and not have to worry that we will end up being targeted by those abilities.
I can’t stress enough that you should absolutely experiment and try different fights using different styles. Don’t be afraid to Fistweave for 30 seconds at the beginning of the fight and then switch off to traditional healing once the heavy damage goes off. The Mistweaver spec is extremely flexible and it is important that you find a playstyle that works for you as a healer. If that playstyle involves Fistweaving, great! If it doesn’t, that’s perfectly fine too.
Up Next: Cooldowns, Talents, & Glyphs
The next post in the Mistweaver 101 series will discuss our Cooldowns, Talents, & Glyph choices. Hopefully this should start pulling some things together and providing a clear view of how everything interacts. Questions and comments are always welcome!
The previous post in this series gave a very basic rundown of what spells we should be using to generate and spend Chi. Today we will review those spells in much greater depth so that we can understand how our spells interact with each other and make sure that we are getting the most out of them.
Again, we will not be discussing Fistweaving today. While Fistweaving is a fun aspect of Mistweaver healing that we will be covering in depth in the next post, it is important to understand that adding DPS abilities into your healing rotation at max level makes both your rotation and your mana management significantly more complicated. Frankly, while there are plenty of guides out there that will tell you otherwise, I am a firm believer that you need to master your basic healing spells and rotation when you hit max level before you attempt to mix things up with Fistweaving.
Just in the way that DPS classes usually have a “filler spell” (think of Shadow Bolt, Mind Flay, etc.) that they spam when they are waiting for a proc or an ability to come off cooldown, Soothing Mist is the Mistweaver’s spell to use when we have nothing else to do. It is also one of our best Chi generators in that it has a relatively cheap Mana cost, but has a 30% chance to give us 1 Chi.
The chance to generate Chi is slightly more complex than that, however. Soothing Mist will heal a target (or “tick”) 7 times over the course of its channel. You are guaranteed to get at least 1 Chi if you channel the full spell, but due to some math that you can review if you’re interested, you will actually generate an average of 1 Chi for every 2.94 ticks of the spell that you channel. The chance to generate Chi is 15% per tick, plus 15% for each tick that has not generated Chi. Thus, if you have generated no Chi from the first 6 ticks of the spell, you will always get 1 Chi on the final tick, because you will have a 105% proc chance then. Your chance to generate Chi increases with each tick that doesn’t give you Chi, and your proc chance resets when you do generate Chi.
If that sounds a little too complicated, simply remember this – Soothing Mist is our most efficient way to generate Chi. The Mana cost is very low and the Chi generation, while not guaranteed like some of our other spells, is consistent enough that we can count on it.
In a dungeon setting, it’s generally a good idea to channel Soothing Mist on your tank. That said, do not feel as if you have to allow Soothing Mist to channel for its full duration before you switch to another target. I tend to bounce my Soothing Mist around to anyone and everyone who is taking damage. Ideally, you should wait to generate at least 1 Chi from a channel of Soothing Mist before you bounce on to another target, because of the reset described before. It’s an easy way to put out a little healing on your target and to set yourself up to use Surging Mist and Enveloping Mist as instant-cast spells, as we’ll discuss below.
Finally, one huge quality of life change I recommend that you make before you attempt to do anything as a Mistweaver is to turn off the camera tracking option on Soothing Mists. By default, your character will turn toward the person on whom they are channeling this spell. That part can’t be changed, but you can and should turn off the option to make your camera turn along with your character. Otherwise your camera will be bouncing all around the room as you heal, and this is a really great way to get yourself killed.
Renewing Mist is an extremely powerful heal-over-time (HoT) that always generates 1 Chi and is likely to make up a very large chunk of the healing you do. Renewing Mist can be cast every 8 seconds. In raiding situations, it is generally used on cooldown. This spell is cast on a single target but will then spread to 2 other players, so that each 1 cast of Renewing Mist will actually end up on 3 people total. This HoT has an 18 second duration, so it is possible (and desirable) to have it on many people in your raid group at once. Uplift’s interaction with Renewing Mist makes it essential to “blanket” the raid with this HoT as much as possible to achieve huge group healing.
By default, Renewing Mist will jump to the closest injured player within 20 yards of its original target. Many Mistweavers choose to glyph this ability in order to change it so that it jumps to the furthest player within 40 yards of the original target. 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.
In both dungeons and raids, I will usually ensure that Renewing Mist is present on my tank(s). Assuming it is, I will then cast it on any other player who is below 100% health. If everyone who is at less than 100% health already has the HoT on them, then I will cast it on anyone who is missing it. Due to the guaranteed Chi generation and the benefits of having the entire raid or group blanketed with Renewing Mist, it is preferable to have it as many players as possible even if that means it will be overhealing.
Surging Mist is often described as the Mistweaver’s “Flash Heal.” Unfortunately, the Mistweaver spec is unique enough that such direct comparisons to other classes’ healing spells are rarely all that accurate or helpful. Surging Mist is like Flash Heal in that it is a big and expensive heal, but there’s a lot more to it.
Surging Mist generates 1 Chi when cast. The trick about Surging Mist, though, is that you never really want to “cast” it in a traditional sense. If you cast Surging Mist while you are already channeling Soothing Mists on a target, Surging Mist will become an instant-cast spell. So your biggest heal, which has no cooldown, can be an instant-cast 100% of the time. Surging Mist should always be instant, meaning you should always be channeling Soothing Mist when you use it. (This is yet another good reason why you should be channeling Soothing Mist as your filler spell.)
If you cast Surging Mist while you are channeling Soothing Mist, then Surging Mist will heal the person on whom you are channeling Soothing Mist. There is some confusion surrounding the glyph of Surging Mist, which says: “Surging Mist no longer requires a target, and instead heals the lowest health target within 40 yards.” Many assume that this means they can continue to channel Soothing Mist, cast Surging Mist as an instant, and that Surging Mist will automatically heal the lowest health target within 40 yards.
This is not how the glyph works, though. If you are casting 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. It is, however, helpful for Fistweaving, for reasons we will discuss in tomorrow’s post.
Expel Harm is a very cheap self-heal that generates 1 Chi. It has a 15 second cooldown, and it also deals damage equal to 50% of the healing it does to a nearby enemy. We should use this ability on cooldown any time we are below 100% health.
To be completely honest, I also sometimes use this ability when I am at full health if I need to force a proc of Chi in a pinch. That’s not ideal use of the spell since I am completely wasting the heal and the damage, but the Chi is still generated even if it doesn’t do any effective healing.
By default, you can only use Expel Harm to heal yourself and, as such, it doesn’t require a target to use. Expel Harm can be glyphed so that you can use it on other people, but the healing is reduced by 50%. Don’t use this glyph. The reduction in healing makes it very lackluster, and in almost all situations you are going to want to have that heal to use on yourself. The only time I have ever found the glyph helpful was in the Healer Proving Grounds, where I rarely took any damage but the NPCs were happy to constantly stand in everything.
Oh Uplift, a Mistweaver’s best friend. Uplift and Renewing Mist will together do the majority of your healing, especially if your group is spread out and there’s a good amount of damage happening.
Uplift costs 2 Chi, is an instant-cast spell, and has no cooldown. As long as you have the Chi to spend, you can spam Uplift to your heart’s content. Uplift is a large instant heal that targets anyone who is currently being healing by your Renewing Mist. (It is similar to a Druid’s Swiftmend interacting with Rejuvenation.)
Uplift does not require a target, which means that you can use it to do some very powerful things. If a player is out of your range, as long as they have Renewing Mist on them then Uplift will still heal them. This is part of the reason why Mistweavers excel on fights that require a raid group to spread out. As long as we have sufficiently blanketed the raid with Renewing Mist before we have to spread, then we will be able to use Uplift on players who are now more than 40 yards away from us. This is also one of the reasons why I do prefer to glyph Renewing Mist, since that means I have a greater chance of spreading the HoT to players who are far away.
Uplift can be glyphed to cost Mana instead of Chi. Don’t use this glyph. The Mana cost is huge – 16% each time you use it. Between the amount of Mana that you would be dumping into using Uplift and the fact that you are not spending Chi (and therefore generating stacks of Mana Tea), this glyph is completely inefficient for Mana management. Additionally, Uplift is our main Chi consumer. If we aren’t spending our Chi on Uplift, then we really won’t have much else to spend it on.
Strictly speaking, Thunder Focus Tea is a cooldown spell; but it is also a very important part of our rotation and something we should make the most of every time it’s available. Thunder Focus Tea costs 1 Chi and will provide a benefit to either our Surging Mist or our Uplift, depending upon how we choose to use it.
When you activate Thunder Focus Tea, you will then have 30 seconds to either use Surging Mist or Uplift. Whichever spell that you cast first will be the one that receives the benefit from the Tea.
I always choose to buff my Uplift using Thunder Focus Tea. To do so, I use the Thunder Focus Tea ability and then cast Uplift. This will refresh my Renewing Mist HoT on everyone who currently has it. Given how powerful Renewing Mist and Uplift are together, it is very valuable to be able to completely refresh the HoT’s duration (and thus have more opportunities to use Uplift).
This strategy also means that, in a 10-man raid group, I can have Renewing Mist running on all 10 people in my group at the same time – which also means I can cast Uplift on all 10 people in my group. In 25-man groups you won’t be able to cover your entire raid, but you will still have Renewing Mist going on enough people for your Uplift to do quite a bit of healing.
Thunder Focus Tea is best used in preparation for large spikes of damage that will cover the entire group. Note that I did not say during large spikes of damage. To get the most out of Thunder Focus Tea, you really need to think about the encounter and try to plan ahead so that you already have Renewing Mist on as many people as possible when the damage spike happens. That way, you will be able to immediately use Uplift on a large portion of your group.
If you choose to use Thunder Focus Tea with Surging Mist, then the amount of healing done by that Surging Mist will be doubled. This has some potential for use in dungeon settings if a player is taking huge amounts of damage and needs to be quickly healed to full. But frankly, Surging Mist is a pretty powerful heal in and of itself, and because it is already an instant cast with no cooldown, there isn’t much benefit to doubling the healing on a single cast of it. I highly recommend using Thunder Focus Tea to benefit Uplift rather than Surging Mist.
Enveloping Mist is our most expensive Chi consumer at a cost of 3 Chi. Like Surging Mist, if Enveloping Mist is cast while we are channeling Soothing Mist on a target, then it will become an instant-cast spell. Also like Surging Mist, we should always use Enveloping Mist in this way. It should never have a cast time.
Enveloping Mist puts a small heal-over-time on its target and also buffs the healing that target receives from Soothing Mist by 30% for 6 seconds. I have read guides that suggest we should be sure to keep this buff up on our tanks at all times, but I simply can’t agree. Enveloping Mist’s HoT is not especially strong, and while 30% additional healing from Soothing Mist is nice, this alone isn’t going to save someone who’s taking a lot of damage because Soothing Mist is a pretty weak heal to begin with.
If someone is taking large hits of “spiky” damage where their health is bouncing up and down quickly, then you are much better off using Surging Mist than playing around with Enveloping Mist. If someone is taking smoother, but still sustained, damage then that might be a good time to use Enveloping Mist on them.
That said, because Enveloping Mist has such an expensive Chi cost, it can be a great way to “dump” excess Chi. “Dumping” a resource simply means that you are approaching its maximum (i.e. you are at 3 Chi and channeling Soothing Mist so you will probably hit 4 Chi soon) and you need to get rid of some of it. I often find myself using Enveloping Mist at the start of a fight because I don’t have a reason to use Uplift yet but I still want to continuously generate and spend Chi to build up my Mana Tea stacks.
In a 5-man dungeon setting, Enveloping Mist is slightly more helpful since you alone are responsible for healing your tank and because you are likely to be channeling Soothing Mist on your tank more often than you might be in a raid setting. It also remains a good way of dumping excess Chi when the group isn’t taking damage.
There are some raid nights and some boss fights in which I don’t bother to use Enveloping Mist at all. I would say it is arguably the strangest of our spells because when I do use it, it often has nothing to do with what the spell itself does and more with how much Chi it costs. Above all, I would caution against making the mistake that this is a tank-saving ability, since you really will have much better luck using Surging Mist in that kind of situation.
Up Next: Fistweaving
Tomorrow’s post will cover the oft-misunderstood “Fistweaving” side of Mistweaver healing. We will discuss how to incorporate Fistweaving into a healing rotation, being a melee healer, and whether it is absolutely necessary to use Fistweaving abilities in order to be an effective Mistweaver. As always, questions and comments are welcome here on the blog, via email, or on Twitter.