Tag Archives: brewmaster

The problem with brewmaster monks…

28 Apr

So, my brand new monk hit 84, and promptly got stuck when trying to do the quest chain that takes him into Twilight Highlands… and since I would rather rub sandpaper on my nipples than level 84-85 solely in Uldum and Deepholm, I went ahead and made a template character. First thing I did with my brand new panda monk (spooneristically named “Metabonkey”) was to spec him brewmaster and queue for one of the new dungeons. Queue popped instantly and I was taken to Stormstout Brewery, where I promptly realized the big issue with Brewmasters in their current iteration

They are fucking squishy. Here’s why: My druid tank, in bear form, in ilvl 397 gear has 58422 armor on the beta. My monk, in 378 gear (admittedly worse, but not DRAMATICALLY so) is sitting at 11381 armor.

Now baseline, that’s roughly a 30% difference in damage reduction mitigated by armor. Per swing. Brewmasters DO have a lot of tools to combat this between Guard and Staggering damage, but therein lies the problem. NO one tank class shouldn’t have to use a minimum of 4 global cooldowns for his damage taken to be similar to that of the other tanks. 4 global cooldowns is the MINIMUM… That’s providing you start a fight with full chi and are talented into having a maximum of 5 chi. If you’re going in blank it could take as many as 9 global cooldowns (Keg smash, Jab x2, Tiger Palm x3, Keg Smash, Guard, Purifying Brew) . And that is IF every single blow lands.

That’s a long damn time for you to be getting your face pounded in while trying to be “just as good” as the other tanks. Now the guard gives you a bit of breathing room, and purifying brew will cleanse off any Staggered damage you took in that time frame, but unless you throw a blackout kick (2 chi, which means you need to generate 2 MORE chi somewhere in that 9s string of nonsense) somewhere in there, there isn’t any guarantee that you will stagger ANY hits. Which means you took at *least* 3 swings from a boss at “full strength” with your monk’s piddly little 30% armor. Which means your healers are panting and going “what the fuck y u so squishy!??!”

All things being equal, this is a problem in and of itself. I don’t think anyone will argue that, but here’s the rub. Keg smash has a cooldown. If you miss with it either time in those 9 seconds then you wasted a cooldown and now have to jab TWICE for two chi, instead of KS’ing ONCE. On top of that, your keg smash/jab cost 40 energy. Energy is kind of a funky resource overall because baseline it regenerates at 10/sec. Of course haste will change that, but the amount it does so is SO miniscule (10% haste = 1 extra energy/sec. HARDLY worth the hassle when you could look for so many better things on gear).

So, let’s look at this from another way, where energy actually comes into play in the above rotation (starting a fight with zero chi). Keep in mind, I am no hardcore theorycrafter, but all of this makes sense even to me, so it should be simple enough to understand. We are assuming 0 haste on your behalf (which we know will not be the case, because we’ll ALWAYS find SOME gear with garbage stats on it). e = energy, c = chi.

Keg smash (-40e) Jab (-40e) Jab (-40e) = -120 energy. Right off the bat, you’re ALREADY waiting for energy to regenerate. Now admittedly, you can throw your three tiger palms in after the first jab, so it would look like this. Keep in mind that the base regeneration rate is 10 chi per second, and the Brewmaster monk’s have a 1s global cooldown instead of 1.5 baseline like everyone else.

Fight: (100e 0c) Keg smash (60e 2c), Jab (30e, 3c), Tiger palm x3 (60e, 0c) Jab (30e, 1c)–and right here your stuck. The next thing you SHOULD do is keg smash again, but you don’t have the energy to do it. You have to wait a full second to get enough energy to fire off your keg smash… or even another jab. At this point the boss has swung at you roughly 2 times (we’re assuming a 3 second swing timer. Of course this could be higher or lower, but 3 is a nice round number, it’s an “average” boss swing timer, and it suits our purposes here). So at this point, we’re waiting for enough energy to keg smash, where we’ll have the chi to Guard and Purifying Brew.

Again, this is ALL assuming that you have enough hit and expertise to never miss, and never be dodged or parried. And all of this is to get our survivability up to where EVERY OTHER TANK is back at the beginning of the pull. This is a little messed up right now.

I feel like I should say this (as I always do), but this is BETA. I know things will be changed. Numbers will be tweaked. Blizzard doesn’t want ANY tank going underrepresented, especially not their new class for this expansion. I understand the point of not wanting to repeat their mistakes with Death Knights at the beginning of WotLK (where they were soloing raid bosses at level), but I feel like they swung the pendulum too far the other direction for now. Of course, this is a GOOD THING. Having a class that starts out feeling weaker and gradually bringing it up to everyone else’s relative position makes us feel more powerful. This is MUCH more preferable than having us feel like gods among men, and then feeling neutered when we’re actually IN LINE with the other mere mortals (again, see DK’s in early Wrath).

I’m not writing this as a bitchfest post or anything like that. I am writing it so that those of you without beta access, or those simply unwilling to get in the beta for your own reasons, have an idea of what’s going on and where things lie for the “newcomers” to Azeroth.   If Blizz balances Brewmasters out like I am *certain* they will, then I am about 75% that the Brewmaster monk becoming my new main for Mists. I’m excited by the potential of the Monk class as a whole… but it’s still pretty early in the day. I look forward to seeing the class evolve as Blizzard starts tightening the screws.

Roly Poly Patch Day

25 Apr

This is a beta patch, so don’t get excited. I wanted to discuss the new beta patch rolled out late last night/this morning. Actually, to be more specific, I wanted to take a look at the monk changes, since that’s pretty much the only thing i’ve spent any time on in the beta. So, away we go! (As per usual, I will focus on brewmaster, and maybe touch on some windwalker stuff… mistweaver doesn’t exist to me, as I don’t heal haha)

Baseline changes:

Blackout Kick – Now costs 2 chi, up from 1 chi. Base damage increased by 20%

Pretty good change, imo. The extra chi makes it feel more like a finisher, which is what it’s SUPPOSED to be (sub-50% health), and the damage increase helps offset the extra chi cost. Well thought out change for an ability that was in a bizarre place beforehand.

Crackling Jade Lightning – Now costs 1.5% of base mana, down from 3%. When dealing damage, you have a 15% chance to generate 1 chi.

The mana change is clearly directed more at misweavers, clearly, so it doesn’t matter to me. The chance to generate chi though is nice. Maybe this is starting to take a direction more towards Mistweaver, since it really seems useless for Brewmaster and Windwalker.

Detox – Now removes disease effects instead of bleed effects.

I saw this change coming from the moment I looked at the tooltip of this ability. Only having one class that can cleanse bleeds would cause all kinds of balance issues in pvp.

Fortifying Brew – Now increases your health by 100%, and reduces yoru damage taken by 20%. Lasts 20 sec.

A good change for an ability that really made no sense before. However, it’s another tanking cooldown for a class that, right now, is LOADED THE FUCK DOWN with tank cooldowns. I’m not sure I understand what’s going on there.

Grapple Weapon – Now grabs non-ranged weapons. If you steal a better main-hand weapon, your damage or healing will be increased by 5% or damage taken reduced by 5%.

The first part was most likely a pvp change to keep from making hunters and casters useless. The second half is most likely a clarification of what the ability does, because the previous tooltip didn’t make any damn sense.

Healing Sphere – Now costs 2% base mana up from 1.5% base mana. Now instant cast down from 1.5s cast. Now has a .5s cooldown.

A curious change. I can’t imagine they’ll want tanks casting this on themselves in the middle of combat all the time, so I don’t quite understand why they removed the cast time. IMO, if they’re going to nix the cast time, they should make that a mistweaver-only passive. 

Spinning Crane Kick – Now costs 2 chi, down from [sic] 1 chi. During Spinning Crane Kick, you can continue to dodge and parry.

I’m not particularly surprised by this change. SCK felt too powerful and spammable at a cost of 1 chi. Keeping the ability to dodge and parry just lets tanks use it to solidfy aoe threat. All the other tanks have aoe abilities that don’t remove their dodge/block/parry ability, so it only makes sense that this one wouldn’t either.

Tiger Palm – Now deals 50% additional damage if the target is above 50% health.

Another good change, probably made to counterbalance the change to blackout kick. They definitely want to make sure you use one above 50% health, and one below 50% health.

 Transcendence – Now has a 45s cooldown, down from 3 minutes.

I haven’t played at level 87 so I can only comment on this ability in speculation, so… Sure thing, alright then. lol


Charging Ox Wave – Now affects all nearby enemies within 5 yards, down from 40 yards.

This makes a lot of sense. Having an ability that knocks back all enemies within 40 yards is a little ridiculous. 5 yards makes more sense.

Chi Torpedo – Chi Torpedo replaces roll.

I feel like this was most likely a pvp change, because having 2 rolls, with a movement speed increase, and then chi torpedo, and then flying tiger kick (or wtfever it’s called that windwalkers have) means WAYYYYYYYYYYYY too much mobility for monks. Just sayin.

Dampen Harm – Moved to level 75 from level 60. Now has a 1.5m cooldown, up from 30s.

30 seconds of the cooldown for this talent was WAY too good in pvp and for tanks. This makes a lot of sense. The change from level 60 to 75 is pretty much an indifference as far as I care.

Healing Elixirs – Moved to level 75 from level 60.

My guess is this was moved solely so you had it to compete with Dampen Harm. The two of them mixed together would just be too powerful.

Karma *new* – Reduces all spell damage taken by 90% and clears all magical effects on you, reversing them back to their original caster if within 40 yards. Lasts for 6s. 1 chi, instant 1.5m cooldown.

This is an interesting new talent (the tooltip shows at level 75 as well, so it makes sense to choose between this, Dampen Harm, and Healing Elixirs). I could see the cost being increased to maybe 2 chi at some point in the future, because this could be ABSURD in pvp against classes like DKs, warlocks, and shadow priests. I am also imagining the cooldown being increased, but it looks to be a fun addition to the toolbox.

Leg Sweep – Now lasts 5s, down from 6s.

Meh. An aoe stun is an aoe stun, and 5s vs 6s is really not that big of a difference if you ask me. 

Zen Sphere (Formerly known as Rolling Force Globe) – Summons a Zen Sphere at the target location. Deals (x) damage to the 3 lowest health enemies within 20 yards of the sphere every 1s. If the enemies die from the Zen Sphere, they combust, dealing (y) damage to enemies within 8 yards. Use Zen Sphere again while active to detonate it, instantly dealing (y) damage to all enemies within 20 yards. 1 chi, 40 yard range, instant.

If i’m reading the tooltip changes correctly, instead of having the Force Globe be a boomerang that combines healing and damage to anyone in it’s path, this is instead a stationary object that is strictly for damage dealing. Losing the healing aspect of this is a bit sad, as it could’ve been a fantastic little ability for monks of all specs to throw out on high-AOE damage times. Overall, not a terrible change.. 

Rushing Jade Wind – has been reworked and now has a 30s cooldown, down from 45s. Summon a whirling tornado that travels 0 yards in front of you, dealing 5454 nature damage to all targets in it’s path and increasing damage taken bu your Spinning Crane Kick by 30%. For 8s after you cast Rushing Jade Wind, you move at 200% speed while using Spinning Crane Kic, and reduces Spinning Crane Kick’s chi cost by 1.

This has “AOE fight” written all over it, and I really like the way it’s been reworked. It’ll probably be a staple for trash on dungeons, and on fights with lots of add phases. I’m certain this will see some good use.

Tigereye Brew – Now costs 3 chi, up from 1. Now has a 60s cooldown, down from 90s. Now increases your damage and healing done by 15%. (Level 60 talent).

3 chi seems like a pretty steep cost for a moderate dps/hps increase. It doesn’t show a duration in the tooltip, at this point, but that doesn’t mean anything. I’m sure it HAS a duration, because a stacking buff like this would just be way too strong to ignore otherwise. I’m betting it drops to a 2 chi cost at some point, because 3 is just.. a lot.

Tiger’s Lust – Now has a 30s cooldown, down from 60s.

I hadn’t paid much attention to this, but this seems wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy too strong to be on a 30s cooldown when compared to similar abilities like Will of the Forsaken and Escape Artist. I don’t know what they’re playing at here.

Brewmaster abilities:

Avert Harm – Now reduces damage taken by 50%, up from 20%

This is, most likely, to keep monks from getting exploded by large amounts of damage re-directed from everyone else (half of 80% is 40%, the old way. Now half of 50% is 25%, so it’s a net damage reduction for the entire raid)

Brewmaster Training – Blackout kick portion reworked – After you Blackout Kick, you gain Shuffle causing the 3 attacks taken to become staggered within $115307 (that’s really what the tooltip says atm lol).

This is a *fantastic* change. Blackout Kick was really just another way to deal damage before, and having it be chi-free when parried made it fit really oddly in the brewmaster’s toolbox. This makes a LOT more sense in the grand scheme of things. BOK will still cost 2 chi, but now it’ll be another form of “active mitigation” that Blizz is so into these days, and I think it’ll fit nicely into the toolbox.

Clash (formerly Clashing Ox Charge) – You and the target charge each other, meeting halfway and stunning all targets within 6 yards.

This still seems kind of like a wonky ability, due to the whole “meet halfway” mechanic. I haven’t actually been in the beta since patch yet to see whether they’ve fixed the bug of it not always working with casters, so we’ll see. The aoe stun portion is pretty nice though.

Dizzying Haze – Now costs 20 energy, up from 10. Now reduces movement speed by 50%, up from 15%. Misfire chance now stacks up to 3 times.

The energy cost of this was never the issue. Nor was the movement speed reduction. The fact that it’s still a 3-stack still is all kinds of weird to me, and I don’t understand why that’s the one thing that DOESN’T get changed. I just don’t understand.

Summon Black Ox Statue – Now instant cast, down from a 1.5s cast.

Brilliant. Having a tank cast in the middle of combat to put another one of these up is a surefire way to get his ass gibbed, and this is the perfect solution to that. Bravo.

All in all, a lot of these changes are really good. A couple of them don’t make any sense to me, but getting some insight in where Blizz wants to take the monk class is always helpful. My only complaint, really, is Dizzying Haze still. Argh.I really wish they would make DH just a 5% misfire chance with 1 stack, that way using the targeting reticle wouldn’t be so damned awkward. BUT i think i’ve ranted enough about that already. Also, this post has gotten a lot more wordy than I was expecting. Overall, I see a lot of things monks have to rejoice over right now. Running forward for 30 seconds and then taking a couple steps backwards (or more like sideways, in all honesty) is still a net gain in the end.

ETA: A few addendums i’ve noticed after playing in the beta for 5 minutes or so.

Shuffle, as an active ability has been completely removed. Instead it is entirely worked into Blackout Kick. Holy fuckberries you guys. If it weren’t for Tiger Palm increasing our Guard amount, this might eliminate it from our rotation altogether. Holy crap.

In regards to Dizzying Haze: They have reworked it slightly to where it DOESN’T stack, unlike how the tooltip (as per mmo-champion) reads. Instead it is indeed just one stack. Also, the reticle will stay up on your screen from DH allowing you to quickly throw it where you need without having to hit a button, click, hit button, click again. It now works like the Wild Mushrooms. Good change Blizzard. Very good job. I stand completely corrected regarding Dizzying Haze.

Breath of Fire has also been reworked. Instead of dealing more damage based on the stacks of Dizzying Haze (since it doesn’t stack anymore), it now deals a DoT over 8 seconds when it hits them. Whether or not they’ve fixed the conical aspect of the spell remains to be seen. Also, the cooldown appears to have been removed. *thumbs up*

All in all, this patch is a complete effing win for Brewmaster monks. Thanks be to the game designers.

Brewmastery Goodness

21 Apr


If you’ve follow me on twitter, or have been paying any attention to my youtube channel, then you probably know that I have been enjoying the ever living shit out of a monk on the beta. Of course, numbers need to be tweaked, abilities need to be tinkered, and the hamsters running the wheels on the beta servers may have hit the pipe a few too many times, but it’s a beta… that’s part of the whole experience.

I’ve switched back and forth between the brewmaster (tank spec) and windwalker (DPS spec) several times since I hit level 30, but I always find myself back in the tank spec, just because it seems… much more me. It’s like i’m just meant to be a tank, for better or worse (probably worse) so… we’ll see. Anyway, here are some of my thoughts on the Brewmaster spec as I powerlevel the fuck out of it.

  • At first, I tried a pre-made 85 monk. I promptly looked at the spellbook to start placing my abilities, stared blankly at it for about 10 minutes, and then logged out to roll a brand new one.
  • The first 5 levels or so are a bit slow. Jab, Tiger Palm and Blackout Kick are good abilities, but only having Jab for the first 3 levels feels *really* weird. Doesn’t take long to get over, however (especially if you use heirlooms).
  • 1 second baseline GCDs are effing AMAZING.
  • Dizzying Haze is a fun mechanic, that’s implemented weirdly. However, the fact that the missfire chance doesn’t apply to raid bosses (and possibly may not apply to 5-mans bosses) makes this less of an issue, for me personally. I still think DH should be a targeted ability instead of using the AOE reticle.
  • Breath of Fire is *fun as shit*, if a bit on the overpowered side right now. I have been regularly 1-shotting mobs with Breath crits (on a 3-stack of Dizzying Haze) all the way up to level 73 (where my monk is currently).
  • Brewmaster has a metric shit ton of health. 73 and i’m sitting at 16-17k. When I was level 60 I had over 10k health. I’ve levelled all 4 other tank classes and never had that dramatic of a health pool… it’s a bit of an odd feeling.
  • Because of the high health pools we have, Touch of Death is way stronger than it probably should be. Of course, it probably won’t work at all on raid bosses, regardless of respective health pools.
  • Spinning Crane Kick is a much cooler than it should be. I mean seriously. Just awesomesauce.
  • Crackling Jade Lightning doesn’t fit very well into a tank or melee DPS’ toolkit. I’m not sure what the plan is for it… I haven’t tried Mistweaver, so it could be much more prevalent with them.
  • Some of the talents related to monks are pretty amazing. Every tier thus far has had a choice that I could legitimately see individuals having a need for. VERY well done thus far. (And there’s still two “Mystery Talents” left in the trees)
  • Blackout kick feels weird to me, as a tank. I’m sure it will find a much better place once I get into content that isn’t being blistered through by heirloomed monks all over the place, but it just feels… awkward right now. I think it’s far more useful for DPS monks as a whole, whereas tanks may only use it when it’s chi-free.
  • Chi and Energy as a dual resource system isn’t nearly as confusing as I initially thought it was going to be. Once you get in and play with it for 5-10 minutes, it makes sense.
  • Conversely, I *AM* confused about the concept of Chi spheres, especially from the perspective of a tank (I touched on this in my level 70 video, about the 5:45 mark, if you’re interested)

Now, I say this a lot (and it STILL bears repeating), but realize this is still pretty damn early in the beta, so a lot of these things may be changed completely. Numbers (such as how much damage an ability is doing, or how much health I have) could change almost every day if Blizz were so inclined. BUT, i think they have the general feel of how the class will play, and I enjoy it a lot. Hell, in about a week’s time i’ve made it up to level 73… on the beta… yea, i’m a bit crazy.

Initially, I didn’t plan on doing the post-85 content, but with my monk levelling as fast as he is, I may try out some of the first zone anyway. I honestly haven’t decided at this point. My main reason for staying out of the new content has been “OMG MILLIONS OF EVERYONE EVERYWHERE AUGH”… but as the beta wears on, people are going to out-level that area, and some will just lose interest in the beta altogether for not wanting to spoil content before launch. Both of those factored into my decision to play a dwarf monk instead of a panda. I’ve seen little bits and pieces of the new areas, and good lord are they crowded. Crowded areas in the beta are not very conducive to actually TESTING OUT a class (which was my intention from the moment I received my beta invite), so I went with somewhere I knew would not be crowded… Besides, the idea of a dwarf monk is just damn cool. If you can’t be a panda brewmaster, why not be a dwarven brewmaster right?