With Patch 5.2 looming ominously over my shoulder, I’m frantically pounding on keyboards and poking at calculators and scribbling on notebooks and tearing my hair out over the new Mistweaver Monk changes, so I thought, why not share them with you guys?
I’ve fallen quite behind on my spreadsheet-updating schedule, thanks to the urgency of PTR raid testing and also finishing out tier 14 content, so it will be a few days before I can update my spreadsheets and the more comprehensive content on the Introducing the Monk page. Until then, I hope you’ll all be able to make do with this brief overview!
Mistweaving vs. Fistweaving: The Showdown
Something we learned very quickly about Mistweaver Monks once Mists of Pandaria went live is that Jab-Jab-Uplift was ridiculously mana-efficient and provided extremely quick, reactive, and powerful AoE healing. Partway through the first tier of raiding, Blizzard addressed this by increasing the mana cost of Jab (but in a bugged way, so most Mistweavers never experienced it) and nerfing the extent to which Renewing Mist could spread through the raid. However, it seems the developers still were not happy with the result, and wanted to – for whatever reason – fiddle with this “rotation”.
In 5.2, Jab will now cost a whopping 8% of your mana! That is 24,000 mana per Jab! Which works out to 24,000 mana per Chi. It is now worse than all other Chi generators except Surging Mist for its mana-per-Chi efficiency.
To compensate for this, Soothing Mist’s Chi generation has been smoothed out some. The first tick of Soothing Mist has a 15% chance to proc a Chi, and if it does not, each subsequent tick has an additional 15% chance to proc it, resetting upon successfully obtaining a Chi. The end result is that you should obtain Chi from 34% of your ticks instead of the 30% you are used to in 5.1, or an average of 2.94 Chi per full-duration Soothing Mist channel.
This stacking chance to proc a Chi from each tick does not seem to reset upon restarting a Soothing Mist cast. So, those of you who are already used to spamming Soothing Mist over and over again in order to generate Chi will still reap the benefit of this strategy. I do not know if it resets when you gain Chi via the Soothing Mist/Power Strikes interaction.
Due to the extreme cost of Jab, many Mistweavers I raided with on the PTR seemed to mostly abandon their Fistweaving ways. Not entirely – in some cases it was still convenient for them to be in melee range, and if you’re going to be – and you have some down-time in your healing requirements – you may as well throw a few punches. But for the most part, the healing breakdown seemed to be populated by Uplift, Renewing Mist, Chi Torpedo, Chi Burst, Spinning Crane Kick, Soothing Mist, Enveloping Mist. Their output was phenomenal and their mana-efficiency seemed pretty solid, so this will work pretty well.
Besides just the Jab change, there were a few other changes as well. First of all, Eminence was reduced by half, now healing a low-health ally within 20 yards for 25% of the damage dealt. However, Mistweavers now have a new passive ability, Muscle Memory, which means that after a successful Jab or a Spinning Crane Kick that damages at least 3 enemy targets, their next Tiger Palm or Blackout Kick deals 150% more damage and restores 4% mana. This makes Jab/Tiger Palm much more efficient both in terms of mana cost and healing done via Eminence; and the developers have indicated that they foresee Blackout Kick’s Chi cost being paid by Jab/Renewing Mist or Jab/Expel Harm.
Teachings of the Monastery also picked up some new passives; Tiger Palm and Crackling Jade Lightning deal 100% more damage, and Blackout Kick will deal 50% of its damage to each of up to 4 nearby enemy targets. This basically evens out – and in the case of Blackout Kick during multi-target fights, overcompensates for – the reduction in Eminence healing. And finally, Serpent’s Zeal now maxes out at 25% of your auto-attack damage, but requires only a single application of the buff via Blackout Kick, which is a bit of a quality-of-life adjustment.
Blizzard’s stated design philosophy is that Fistweaving should, like Atonement, be able to deal 50% of a DPS player’s damage while doing 50% of a healing player’s healing. I’m not sure they have hit the mark, or if it is a worthwhile mark to aim for. The end result is that it is now less appealing to mix the two healing styles together, making the Mistweaver toolkit a little less fluid and perhaps a little less interesting for those Monks who were already used to it.
Other Healing Changes
Renewing Mist’s mana cost has been reduced to 5.85% mana (down from 6.5%) in an attempt to ease the mana burden on lower-geared healers.
Mastery: Gift of the Serpent spheres will now persist for 30 seconds. If they have not been consumed by the end of their duration, the spheres will heal a nearby ally for 50% of the amount it otherwise would have healed for. This should make Mastery a more valuable stat, especially for 1o-player raiders.
Healing Spheres will now persist for 1 minute.
Summon Jade Serpent no longer costs mana, meaning there is no penalty other than the cast time to move your statue to a new location during mobile fights.
The mana cost on the Glyph of Uplift has been increased to 16% to match the cost of Jab-Jab-Uplift.
Life Cocoon is now undispellable, a buff to PvPing Mistweavers. However, Thunder Focus Tea is now not usable while Silenced, a nerf to PvPing Mistweavers.
The Level 30 Talents now all have cooldowns and do not cost Chi. This leaves Mistweavers with very few things to spend their Chi on – I suspect this change was aimed at Brewmasters and Windwalkers with more demands on their Chi. As well, their healing has been tinkered with.
While I haven’t done a full evaluation of these talents, I can do a little bit of a breakdown for you here, keeping in mind that these numbers are still using the basic “483 PvP gear” profile that all my spreadsheets have. Your numbers will be higher, but that probably will not change how these Talents compare to one another:
|Mistweaver Level 30 Talents|
|Talent||CD (sec)||Adj. Healing||HPS||Comment|
|Chi Wave||15||83,825||5,588||8 bounces, 4 of which deliver healing|
|Zen Sphere||10||28,103||2,810||Periodic healing only|
|86,171||8,617||Detonation effect on 6+ targets|
|114,274||11,427||Detonation on 6+ targets + periodic heal|
|Chi Burst||30||279,413||9,314||6+ targets|
Note that you can have two Zen Spheres active at any one time, and their mechanic has changed a little bit. Zen Sphere now detonates if its target reaches 33% health or if it expires or is dispelled; you can no longer force the Sphere to detonate in immediate response to moderate raid damage. The numbers displayed above are for a single Zen Sphere cast.
While Zen Sphere can theoretically put out more HPS than Chi Burst, this depends upon it detonating right at the end of its HoT effect, and that detonation effect healing at least 6 targets. This is not something that is necessarily reliable. However, its low cooldown and multi-target capabilities could make it useful for some of the heavy tank-damage fights in the next raid tier where you can be reasonably assured the Spheres will detonate.
I’ll take a closer look at these Talents with a more realistic gear set when I get around to updating the spreadsheet for 5.2.
Monks have access to a new Level 60 Talent, now that Deadly Reach’s effects have been made baseline. Ring of Peace has a 45-second cooldown and creates a sphere of sanctuary around the Monk. Any enemies within the Ring are disarmed and cannot auto-attack. Any casters within the area of effect who attempt to cast will be silenced for three seconds. This is a powerful ability for PvP, but also may be handy for trash and adds-heavy encounters in PvE.
There have also been smaller changes to many Talents:
- Tiger’s Lust no longer costs Chi;
- Charging Ox Wave’s CD has been reduced to 30 seconds (from 60 seconds);
- Healing Elixirs now heals for 15% of maximum health;
- Dampen Harm can now be used while stunned, and its cooldown begins upon activation, rather than upon its charges being consumed/the buff fading; and
- Chi Torpedo deals 15% more damage.
There have been several tweaks to non-healing Monk abilities as well:
- Path of Blossoms has been removed;
- Paralysis is now a physical effect and cannot be dispelled, reflected, or Grounded. Its range has been increased to 20 yards. When used on a non-player target, it will last 40 seconds; when used on a player, it will last 4 seconds. If used on a target from behind, it will last an additional 50%;
- The Glyph of Paralysis causes Paralysis to remove all DoT effects on its target; and
- Spear Hand Strike’s silence effect has been halved in duration.