[Beta]: Mistweaver Leveling 1-10
One of the main things I wanted to explore in the Mists of Pandaria beta was the monk class and particularly the Mistweaver healing tree. So, to that end, I finally downloaded the beta this weekend and created my very own lady panda:
I leveled my pandaren through the starting area and to Stormwind where I, unfortunately, had to stop. I am hoping to level her primarily through dungeon finder so that I can spend some time healing, but beta bugs had other plans for me. I came to Stormwind at level 12 and quickly found that getting those 3 levels before the dungeon finder became available would be harder than I expected – as far as I can tell, the boat from Teldrassil to Darkshore isn’t running, and the questline in Westfall stops working about 5 quests in. This morning, I’ll head up toward Ironforge and cross my fingers that the quests there are functional.
Even so, I do have a few initial impressions of the monk class and the Mistweaver tree from what I have seen so far.
Monk Abilities: Um, where are they?
Usual beta caveats apply: Who knows what will change before Mists goes live? Any and all of what I say about the monk class is still subject to change.
For the first 10 levels of the monk class, you basically use 3 abilities:
- Jab: A basic melee attack that deals damage, uses Energy, and generates 1 Chi.
- Tiger Palm: Uses 1 Chi and deals more damage against opponents above 50% health.
- Blackout Kick: Uses 1 Chi and applies a DoT if the opponent is below 50% health.
The only other ability you get before level 10 is the very fun Roll. Roll has two charges which come back slowly after you use them, and it does exactly what it sounds like – allows you to roll to a position a few yards in front of you.
This didn’t feel like a lot of abilities to me, but I hadn’t leveled any other classes in Mists, so I figured that maybe this was just a part of the streamlined talent and ability system. When I pulled up a talent calculator, though, I realized that Monks really do have fewer abilities at this point than most of the other classes. I assume this is largely a beta issue at this point, but it makes leveling your Monk to 10 something of a boring experience at the moment.
Becoming a Mistweaver
At level 10, Monks get to choose their talent specialization. Mistweaver is the healing spec.
Choosing the Mistweaver spec gives you the Stance of the Wise Serpent, which converts your Energy bar to a Mana bar, makes your Energy abilities cost mana instead, and gives you a Spirit to Hit conversion. Monks use different stances depending upon which role they’re filling. You start out at level 1 with a basic damage-dealing stance.
The other ability you learn when you spec into the Mistweaver tree is Soothing Mists – your first heal. This … is kind of a weird thing. For every other class in the game that’s capable of healing, you learn a healing spell pre-level 10, before you choose a talent specialization. Usually, choosing a talent spec then gives you an ability than somehow builds upon or enhances the heal you already know. Druids, for example, already have Rejuv and they get Swiftmend to augment it. Paladins already have Holy Power and Word of Glory, but they get Holy Shock as a healing spell that will generate Holy Power.
I understand why this doesn’t quite work for Monks – Monk healing spells require mana to cast, and you do not have mana unless you’re a Mistweaver. It just ends up being a pretty weird system as it currently stands because, unlike every other healing class, you don’t get a better heal at level 10, you just get your first heal. Another issue right now is that, because your new Stance and Soothing Mists are the only active abilities you get from your spec, you have nothing to spend Chi on except for the damage abilities you already have. This will change when you get Chi Wave – a Chain heal-like ability that costs 2 Chi to cast – at level 18.
I realize this isn’t the end of the world – 8 levels aren’t really that many. But since you can get into dungeon finder beginning at level 15, I can’t help but feel that this is going to make Monk healers a bit more difficult to level until their resources have a better synergy. Monks, and now Priests, also don’t get a resurrection spell until level 18. Again, this isn’t the end of the world, but in post-Cata low-level dungeons, players actually do die on occasion and even wipes aren’t out of the question (see Lord Godfrey in Shadowfang Keep). Classes who can resurrect should get their rez spell by level 15. It’s that simple.
Heading for Dungeon Finder
Obviously, I’ll have a better sense of low-level Monk healing once I can actually get my Monk into the Dungeon Finder on the beta. I’m looking forward to experimenting with the damage/healing style of the Mistweaver, which – so far – reminds me most of low-level Paladin healing. Cross your fingers that either the Westfall quests are no longer bugged or that Loch Modan will be friendlier to my pandaren.