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Filed under: Monk

Warlords of Draenor: Tanking and the future

One of the things I'm thinking about lately is how tanking is changing in Warlords of Draenor. In at least one major way, it's not changing - Active Mitigation established itself in Mists, based in part on DK tanking in Cataclysm, and it's going to be front and center in Warlords of Draenor. But right now, AM tanking heavily relies on four stats (depending on the tank class) and all four of those stats will be gone come Warlords, meaning that we're looking at a pretty significant change depending on the class. The remaining stat, mastery, is probably going up in value, and in addition, we'll have crit, haste, readiness and multistrike to consider. But stats aren't the whole of the game, and they're not the whole of the changes, either.

In addition to new stats, there are the abilities each tank will see affected by readiness to consider. There are also Draenor Perks for each tank spec, granted randomly as we level from 90 to 100. There are changes in what abilities exist, in what specs get them. Vengeance is gone, replaced with Resolve, buffing our self heals and absorbs. In short, while the basic idea remains the same - generate resources via attacks to spend on damage reduction in one fashion or another - how we go about it, how it interacts with us has so many changes that it's worth discussing in length. There's so much change coming in that I don't pretend I'll catch all of it, which is why we have comments, after all.

So what do I expect to see out of tanking coming 6.0? It should be noted, this discussion is based on the Warlords alpha patch notes and such datamining as I've looked over, and I freely admit I only tank on one class, so while these are general observations I may be missing key class specific factors.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Death Knight, Monk, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Vengeance is now Resolve

This is one of the bigger changes (and one closest to my heart now that I'm tanking again) - Vengeance is gone in Warlords of Draenor, replaced with Resolve. Resolve is basically Vengeance minus the stacking buff to attack power, because of the way Vengeance interacted on certain fights. To put it into perspective, last night was my first night seriously tanking, and I was number four on total DPS - it would have been far higher had I not forgotten I was tanking for the first fight. At present, with Vengeance and tank AoE for purposes of picking up threat (plus, I admit, some fairly beefy Shield Slams once Vengeance stacks all the way up) you can see some ridiculous tank DPS, easily surpassing dedicated DPS players.

The solution being implemented here is to overall increase tank DPS without an unreliable mechanic like Vengeance adding different attack power depending on how much damage the tank takes. This also removes the temptation for tanks to deliberately take more damage in order to get Vengeance stacked up faster. So Vengeance is gone, and Resolve is implemented. How does it work?
  • Resolve improves self-healing and absorbs done by the tank to the tank (so no, it won't buff priest bubbles) based on the damage taken (ignoring avoidance and mitigation, same as Vengeance now) within the last 10 seconds, and your Stamina. This means stuff like Death Strike, Shield Barrier, things of that nature. If you cast a heal on someone else, Resolve won't buff it.
  • Each tank class' tanking mastery will now add 12% attack power, and the amount of attack power will scale with mastery as well. This is in addition to current affects, not replacing it - your tanking mastery will do what you're used to it doing, it'll just also do more.
  • Brewmaster monks will no longer deal less damage. That 15% damage penalty? Gone.
The goal here is for tanking damage to remain meaningful without overshadowing dedicated DPS players, something I feel is profoundly fair. Whether or not it works out for all classes we'll see when we get a chance to test it out, but the basic principle is sound - with tanks now using crit and haste (and the new stats Readiness and Multistrike as well - see Blood Craze here for just one potential use of Multistrike for tanks) we're in a situation where tanking DPS will likely go up just because they're wearing the exact same gear as DPS players. The age of Vengeance's unpredictable scaling probably needed to end.

The section of the patch notes detailing the change is, as always, behind the jump.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Death Knight, Monk, Warlords of Draenor

Watcher on health and healing changes in Warlords of Draenor

If you remember after the last Dev Watercooler, there was a flurry of activity on Twitter as Celestalon and Holinka answered questions. This time Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas has taken to social media to answer questions and explain what's up. We're collecting his tweets here, to give folks a chance to see what he's got to say about the big changes coming to health and healing mechanics in Warlords. There's more after the jump.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, News items, Monk, Warlords of Draenor

5 abilities your monk is not using enough

Every class has its core abilities -- skills you rely on to get you through every fight or to save you in an emergency. These are all bound to hotkeys within easy reach, on a primary button bar, and you're so used to them being there that your fingers move towards the right keys without any thought. But you also have abilities you reach for less often... or that might not be on your button bars at all.

But not all of these abilities are as useless as you might think they are. Almost every ability in a monk's toolbox is useful in some situation, even though some abilities may not seem useful at first glance. To help you unlock the power of these lesser-used skills, we'll take a look at five abilities you might not be using and discuss how -- and when -- they can come in handy.

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Filed under: Monk

Healer representation in Mists of Pandaria


Dedralie at Healiocentric has started a series examining how the 6 healer specs fared in Mists of Pandaria, and the first installment starts with a look at representation in raids. It's a fascinating article on the rise, fall, and sometimes stagnation of class fortunes, and toward the end there's a pretty cogent prediction on what mythic raids in Warlords of Draenor are probably going to look like if current trends continue.

This is a quick summary, but I'll provide more details past the cut. As Dedralie writes, while we're not really talking about healer balance or throughput here, there are a few obvious trends you can track from the Mists launch in September 2012 all the way to heroic Garrosh kills in January 2014:
  • Discipline priests and holy paladins ruled the expansion.
  • The absorption effects brought by these two healers is a huge advantage in heroic content (even more so in 10-man), and it may be too valuable as a mechanic.
  • Tier 15 (Throne of Thunder) was the most balanced with respect to representation. Tier 14 saw significant gulfs between class popularity that unfortunately returned with a vengeance in Tier 16 (Siege of Orgrimmar).
  • While monks and holy priests are still struggling for representation, it's instructive to look at the fights where they were significantly more popular.
  • Mythics will probably look like the "under-healed" heroics of MoP, which will prejudice heal teams toward synergies between absorption healers and those with strong throughput-based cooldowns.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Monk

How to gear your new windwalker monk for raiding

So you've finally hit level 90 on your windwalker monk and you're trying to decide where to go from here. There are lots of things you can do at level 90, but if you want to keep advancing through PvE content, the first thing you'll need to do is grab better gear that will let you hop into heroics and raids.

While the one of the best ways to gear up is by jumping into heroics and, especially, raids to grab item drops, each raid has an item level requirement -- and you definitely won't meet it after initially hitting 90. But that's not to say it's out of reach -- just that you'll need to put a bit of effort in before you're ready to head into heroics (which require an ilvl of 435) or raids (which start with the ilvl 460 Mogu'shan Vaults).

For new monks who aren't sure where to start -- or old hat players who just aren't confident of their windwalking skills -- we'll help you through the stats that are important for your gear and point you in the right direction to get ready for raiding.

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Filed under: Monk

The quick guide to mistweaving

I didn't start my monk journey as many others did at MoP's release, but switched mains during tier 15 due to raid needs. My confidence was at an all-time low because monk healing felt so foreign, compared to other healing classes. After some time, I completely fell for my monk and want to share what I've learned along the way.

I'd like to get it out of the way now - this guide isn't meant for the advanced mistweaver. It's a quick guide to get you healing, stat. I'd like to cover in-depth mistweaver topics in the future, so don't worry! This is a resource meant for monks hitting level 90 and are interested in trying their hand at healing. It's meant for brewmasters or windwalkers curious about healing or even for those being thrown into a new off-spec.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Monk, Mists of Pandaria

Brewmaster Monk solos Stone Guard 10H

Maebybabe of Ascendance on Draenor EU-H has taken down ten-man heroic Stone Guard, with an item level of 548. No great surprise, I hear you say? Well Maebybabe did it completely by himself. As you can see from the video, there are definitely moments where his health dips down low, and he even dies thanks to not clearing the stagger after the dogs are down, but this is a remarkable feat.

Overall, Maebybabe manages to put out 210.91m damage, no surprise as that's the total required to kill the boss, but also 37.27m healing. He notes in the description of the YouTube video that he's using Glyph of Guard, allowing him to keep Guard active longer, which increases his healing by 30%. Notably, the dogs actually enrage shortly before the kill, despite Maebybabe's DPS output, but this doesn't seem to phase him

At a lower item level, stated as 522 or 523, he also soloed Lich King 25H, which you can also check out on YouTube.

Filed under: News items, Monk

Patch 5.4 Vengeance changes explained

Patch 54 Vengeance changes explained
If you remember from last week, Vengeance is being changed in patch 5.4. If like me you've been curious about how it will specifically be changing, Lore over on the official forums has our first explanation of the changes and how they'll shake out. Here's the breakdown.
Lore - 5.4 Vengeance Mechanics - Info Request
Here's some details on exactly how the multi-target diminishing returns are set to work in 5.4. Warning: here there be maths.

The basic, concise explanation is as follows: The Nth strongest (based on pre-mitigation average auto attack DPS) mob that has hit you in the last 5 seconds grants 1/Nth of full vengeance with their attacks. N is recalculated on every hit taken.

So here's an example. Say you're tanking 3 mobs – we'll say it's a boss and two adds. The boss has pre-mitigation average auto attack DPS of 1500k, one add does 400k, and the other add does 300k. The game will form a list of those mobs from 1-3, like so:
1. Boss: 1500k DPS, 1/1 (100%) of normal vengeance is granted
2. First add: 400k DPS, 1/2 (50%) of normal vengeance is granted
3. Second add: 300k DPS, 1/3 (33.333%, repeating of course) of normal vengeance is granted

This would of course continue as more mobs are being tanked (granting 1/4, 1/5, 1/6, and so on). Also, if the second add were to land a hit at any point when the first add hasn't attacked you in the last 5sec (such as if it swings first), that attack would grant 1/2 Vengeance instead of 1/3.

Hope that clears things up for the theorycrafters.


So if tanking a small group or adds that accompany a boss mob, this change will have little effect - it's when tanking huge packs that the vengeance decay will be most noticeable. The calculation based on most damage seems interesting to me - hopefully the calculations won't be such that vengeance fails to stack properly.

Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Death Knight, Monk, Mists of Pandaria

Patch 5.4 PTR: Vengeance changes

Patch 54 PTR Vengeance changes
If you're a tank in World of Warcraft you know what Vengeance is. Originally intended to allow tanks to keep up with increased DPS from improved gear with DPS stats on it while accumulating tanking gear that generally lacked those stats, it's turned into a means for tanking players to do chart topping DPS on some pulls (especially AoE ones with multiple tanked mobs). There's been a lot of discussion about what might happen with Vengeance in patch 5.4, and now we have our first look at what Blizzard is contemplating for the tanking specialization.
Rygarius - 5.4 PTR Patch Notes - August 2

Vengeance has received several changes.
  • Vengeance now grants Attack Power equal to 1.5% of the damage taken, down from 1.8% (The tooltip said 2% but it was actually 1.8%).
  • Tanks no longer receive Vengeance from many persistent area damage effects (standing in the fire) or from missed attacks (dodging and parrying an attack will continue to work as it has before).
  • There are now diminishing returns on Vengeance gains while tanking multiple targets. Each additional target grants progressively less Vengeance.


These changes are almost certainly aimed at reducing the very high DPS that we can see on trash pulls and boss fights with a great many streaming adds (such as Tortos' bats or the packs before Iron Qon) especially as we head into the final tier of gear for Mists of Pandaria, which would inflate these numbers even more. Raids that use tanks with the highest DPS tanks will probably feel these changes the most. As always, this is the PTR, so if you have an opinion on these changes getting on the test servers and testing them out is useful so you can give proper feedback.

Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Death Knight, Monk, Mists of Pandaria

Patch 5.4 PTR: The Rise of Riposte and other tank changes

Patch 54 PTR The Rise of Riposte and other tank changes
Okay, before we get into it, always remember this is datamined information from the next PTR and none of it is guaranteed to make it live. That being said, there are some interesting changes in the pipeline for tanks in patch 5.4, not the least of which is the creation of Riposte, an ability for warriors and death knights. The reason Riposte is interesting is because it seems to be a means to convert parry and dodge into critical strike, which means several things. First, you'll be less likely to stack critical strike as a tank (warriors were at least thinking about it with the change to Enrage, including Shield Slam and Devastate) and secondly, it makes those purely defensive stats work as threat generators, increased the low tank DPS of the warrior tank (and perhaps the DK tank as well, although I'd not heard any complaints about low DK tank DPS) and it must be noted, is not an ability that druid, paladin or monk tanks will be getting.

I find this very interesting, especially combined with the changes to Dark Command, Reckoning, Growl and Taunt. All of these abilities will now not only force a target to attack the tank in question, but will also increase her threat by 200% for 3 seconds. This means that, even if you are tanking a boss or mob that you already have threat on, these four abilities will still increase your threat overall when used, meaning that if you hit a taunt while tanking it will still have a positive effect on your threat. It's worth noting that hunter pet Growl works exactly the same - hunter pets will also get the extra 200% threat over the three seconds.

We're clearly not even remotely done with tweaks and fixes in patch 5.4, but by themselves these changes suggest that tanking is definitely going to see its fair share. The change to taunts is the biggest change to how taunting works that has ever happened, and the inclusion of Riposte goes one step further towards making avoidance also provide threat.

Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Death Knight, Monk, Mists of Pandaria

Ghostcrawler on Vengeance and patch 5.4

Ghostcrawler on Vengeance and patch 54
Yes, patch 5.3 isn't even out yet, and we're already looking towards patch 5.4. Thanks to Ghostcrawler, we have this to think about for the future, namely that Vengeance is getting capped at a significantly lower threshold in raids in the future. If you remember back at August of last year, Vengeance saw some significant changes that increased how fast it could ramp up in raids and also gave it a far larger maximum potential. It's been adjusted over time, but in general what GC said back last August has held true -- tank DPS in raiding really did go up. To the point where on some pulls it's not unusual to see tanks leading the DPS, sometimes by extremely large numbers.

Since this is a big change that will drastically lower tank damage output (25-man tanks with their 600,000 or more health buffed will lose roughly 300,000 AP on fights where Vengeance was capping at 100% of their health) I'm not surprise it won't be coming in 5.3 -- I am a little surprised it's happening at all, because we all knew Vengeance and tank damage would do exactly what it has done when it was changed. Still, I wait to observe if it has much practical difference since aside from AoE tanking where a multitude of hits can roll in a short window of time (that 20 second ramp up period) and the tanks can make effective use of all that AP I'm not sure it will matter. 5-mans and scenarios were not mentioned, so for now I'm assuming this is only for the raids mentioned.

Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Death Knight, Monk, Mists of Pandaria

What's on the horizon for monks in patch 5.3

What's on the horizon for monks in patch 53
There's a lot of cool stuff coming our way in patch 5.3, including a new battleground, new scenarios, new quests, and a host of PvP changes. But while these splashy changes have been getting all the attention, monks haven't been left out of the action. Be aware that patch 5.3 is still on the PTR which means we may still see changes before anything his the live servers, but working from Blizzard's official patch notes, we can get a pretty good idea of what's coming. Let's take a look!

Help for healers
First up, there's a change to all healing spells that pick their own targets -- which includes things like Renewing Mist and Chi Wave. These abilities will now pick their targets a bit more intelligently. Says Blizzard, "Targets with lower % health will be preferred, and players are weighted more heavily than pets." It's hard to say how much this will impact gameplay in practice, but it's a definitely a buff.

Mistweavers are also getting a buff to Revival, whose healing cap is now 15 raid members (instead of 6) when used in a 25-player raid.

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Filed under: Monk, Mists of Pandaria

Should you be playing a monk?

Should you be playing a monk
World of Warcraft has a character class for every type of player... though you may have to hunt around to find the class that's a perfect fit for you. These days, I've found my perfect fit to be the monk. (Though who's to say that I won't change my mind again in the future.) So if you're in the market for a new character -- whether you're a new player or an old hand -- let's talk about why a monk should be at the top of your to-play list.

Just what is a monk?
Monks are masters of weaponless combat who have learned to harness their chi hurt their enemies or heal their friends. While they fight bare-handed, they can (and should!) equip weapons: they can use fist weapons, one-handed axes, one-handed maces, one-handed swords, polearms, and staves and can dual-wield one-handed weaponry. They use cloth and leather armor and, though monks originated in Pandaria (and you'll need the Mists of Pandaria expansion to play one), the class is open to pandaren, dwarf, human, blood elf, tauren, undead, draenei, gnome, night elf, orc, and troll.

They're a true hybrid class who can tank (brewmaster monks), heal (mistweaver monks), and DPS (windwalker monks). For resources, monks have health, energy (for brewmasters and windwalkers), mana (for mistwalkers), and chi. Chi is unique resource to monks: you have four possible points of it and start combat with zero. Some of your attacks will generate chi while others will use it, meaning monks take careful resource balancing.

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Filed under: WoW Rookie, Monk

Breakfast Topic: Why can't we all find Enlightenment?

Breakfast Topic Why can't we all find Enlightenment
As a (fairly) new monk, I have to say I love the fact that monks have their very own daily quest. Every day -- and an extra time every ten levels -- we can head out to the Peak of Serenity in Pandaria, where we train with our fellow monks.

If you aren't aware that this quest was daily, and only visited the Peak of Serenity for class quests every ten levels, you should get on board! It's easy to do -- just cast Zen Pilgrimage every day and spend a couple of minutes sparring with one of the monk trainers -- and the reward is very much worth it, not only giving you great XP, but also the Enlightenment buff that provides +50% experience from questing and killing. If you're leveling, I don't have to tell you how invaluable that kind of XP buff is. In fact, it's so invaluable, that whenever I've switched to another alt I really miss it. Leveling any other class, no matter how efficient you are with heirlooms and rested bonuses, is slower than leveling a monk.

And all I have to say is... where are the other class quests? Why don't hunters have daily target practice quests? Why don't mages have daily drills in fire, frost, and arcane magics? Why don't warlocks have daily demon duels? And what do you think, dear readers? Do other classes need their own daily quests, or would it just add to the frankly overwhelming pile of dailies we already have?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Monk

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