So last week, Blizzard finally released the first go-round of the monk’s abilities and it’s talent trees. I want to take a look at them, and see how they will relate to the various roles.
I’m not going to list EVERY SINGLE ability the monk has, but I will cover the spec-specific ones, and maybe some of the basic ones that synergize with them.
First up is the Brewmaster, the tanking spec. First thing I should mention for Brewmasters is a word you come across a lot.. “Stagger” – To stagger damage is to take 50% of it up front, and the other 50% 3 seconds later. Pretty cool way to somewhat mitigate damage. Now then, onto the actual abilities.
(Any notes I have regarding the abilities will be in italics after the description)
Stance of the Drunken Ox – Reduces damage taken by 20% and increases chance to stagger damage by 25%. (Typical tank stance. Since “uncritable” is baked into the spec as a passive, this is pretty standard fare now. Any abilities I list below require this stance)
Breath of Fire (40 yd range) – Breathe fire onto the target. Damage is increased by the number of Drunken Haze stacks on the target. (This will most likely be one of the ways to ranged-pull targets towards you. Also *YOU GET TO BREATHE EFFING FIRE*)
Drunken Haze (40 yd range) – Hurl a keg of your finest brew, reducing the movement speed of all enemies within 8 yards by 15%. Afflicted targets have a 3% to have their attacks missfire and damage themselves instead. Stacks up to 3 times. (Okay, aside from this being one of the FUNNIEST damn tooltips, this ability seems pretty awesome. Also, an AOE ranged pull? Kinda nice)
Guard – You guard against future attacks, absorbing (some formula) of damage for 8 sec. Any heals you apply to yourself while guarding are increased by 30%. (Sounds a bit like a DK’s style of absorb/self healing. Could be interesting, but could also be broken as fuck. Will have to see)
Elusive Brew – Increases your chance to dodge melee and ranged attacks by 50% (Typical tank-style defensive cooldown, but for avoidance instead of mitigation… interesting.)
Avert Harm (15 yd range) – You reduce damage taken by all friendly targets within 10 yards by 20%, and cause half of all damage they take to be redirected to you. Lasts 15s. Will be cancelled if you reach 10% health or lower. (Now this is interesting. It has two different ranges, which is probably just a mix-up on Blizzard’s part… or maybe even Wowhead’s part, who knows. This could be a nice “Save my co-tank” ability, or “everyone’s stacked, taking big damage” ability, not unlike the Paladin’s “Divine Guardian“)
Recoil – Whenever you dodge, you gain 5 energy. (I have to admit, I find myself really confused thus far with the resource system that monks have. Chi, Force, and Energy. Seems difficult to keep up with, but i’m sure it won’t be so bad once I can get in and PLAY the class)
Summon Black Ox Statue (40 yd range) – Summons a Black Ox statue at the target range for 10 minutes. Only one Black Ox statue can be summoned at a time. This statue interacts with your Provoke and Leer of the Ox abilities. Guard (on-click effect), allies can right-click the statue to gain the guard effect, absorbing x damage. Any healing done by the monk is increased by 30% while the guard effect is active. 10 charges. (Now *this* is interesting. It’s like a lightwell that gives absorption bubbles instead of HoTs. Also, works like a taunt-totem, but more on that later. Sounds busy, but pretty damned awesome too.)
Brewmaster Training (passive) – You become adept in the ways of the brewmaster, amplifying two of your spells. Tiger Palm - Increases the amount of your next guard by 5%, lasts 30s, stacks up to 3 times. Blackout Kick - When you parry, your next Blackout Kick will cost no force, and can be used on targets regardless of their health percentage. (Another *really* interesting ability. I like how they’re taking baseline abilities and changing them to be suited to your spec. That’s a very cool way of keeping the ability-bloat down, while still making the specs all feel very different.)
Purifying Brew – Instantly purifies all of your staggered damage. (If i’m understanding this correctly, then any damage you have coming in a stagger will be wiped out. This could end up being VERY powerful, as it’s only on a 45s cooldown.)
Leer of the Ox (100 yd range) – Your Ox statue stirs hatred in the target, reducing their movement speed by 50%, and causing them to attack the statue for 8s. The statue must be within 40 yards of the target. Requires Black Ox Statue to be active. (This is what I was talking about earlier with the statue behaving like a taunt totem. Although, i’m not sure how much use this ability will normally get, since I would think the raid’s bubbles could be more useful. Maybe as a way to round up unexpected adds? /shrug. Something that will be interesting to see, at any rate)
Mastery – Drunken Brawler – Reduces Staggered damage by 1%, and increases the effect of your Guard by 1%. (I’m sure these numbers will be tweaked at a later time, but it seems like a standard tank mastery. What remains to be seen is whether it will end up forever useful like DK mastery, useful to a point like Pally/Warrior mastery, or simply meh, like Bear mastery in their live forms)
Shuffle – You shuffle around, causing the next 3 melee attacks to be staggered. While shuffling, you cannot move, attack, or cast spells. (Notice it doesn’t say that you cannot dodge or parry. This could be pretty amazing with a high-avoidance monk, provided it’s not a movement heavy fight. Situational at the very least)
Now then, I’ll briefly touch on the baseline abilities that are directly synergized with Brewmaster-spec abilities.
Tiger Palm – Strike target with the palm of your hand dealing (damage formula) physical damage. Deals (another damage formula) additional damage if the target is above 50% health. (This seems like it will be one of your main abilities, especially with how it works with Brewmaster Training. Defense through offense is one of the big things that Blizz is going for with tanks this xpac, and this seems like an interesting way of pulling that off.)
Blackout Kick – Kick with a blast of Sha energy for (damage formula) physical damage to an enemy target. Only usable on targets below 25% health. If a target is killed by Blackout Kick you are refunded 1 focus. (It’s a basic execute ability, but the way it interacts with Brewmaster Training lets it be used far more often. This could be a lot of fun)
Provoke (40 yd range) – Mock the target, causing them to rush forward and attack you with an increased 50% movement speed. If targeting your Statue of the Black Ox, you provoke all enemies within 8 yards of your statue. (I’m not entirely sure the reasoning behind the increased movement speed… it sounds like the enemies are going to move faster towards you, but I suppose it’s not that important. Also, the aoe taunt through the statue seems like it could be a bit wonky at times… Target the statue, hit taunt, then tab back to something else. Although, this could easily be fixed with a macro I suppose.)
Initially, I was going to go over both the Brewmaster and the Windwalker (dps) specs, but this post ended up being a LOT longer than I had expected. I probably won’t mess with the Mistweaver (healer) spells until I get a chance to actually go play one, because I’m not entirely sure I understand how it is supposed to work just by reading the tooltips. I’m sure it’ll make a lot more sense whenever I *do* finally get my beta invite. Also, a few glyphs have been released, but only a few at this point. I will save a post on glyphs and talents until they are in a more finalized state (some of the monk talents are just placeholders that say “Coming Soon” right now).
All in all, just from reading the abilities of the Brewmaster, I think they could be a hell of a lot of fun to tank with.