After being asked by a couple players to write those thoughts, I’ve finally found the time to do part of it. I’ve spent some time on alpha trying out talents, stats, rotational stuff both on paper and on dummies or raid bosses. I haven’t been able to write down all of it here but that’s a start on most relevant parts. I’ll be helping to write guides for windwalkers for legion most likely; I look at those changes as a teacher would, and I’m concerned about how players, of any level, will comprehend new windwalker. I am well aware of tuning being off on alpha; however, I believe tuning within a specialization is not meant to move too much, so I’ve singled out the strength of spells relative to one another rather than anything else.
Very few people actually keep up to date Windwalker content. This will most likely change with legion’s windwalker being better in design for a wider crowd, but not to a very large extent.
I’ll be splitting things up into a few posts for formatting sake. For any questions, or if anyone wants me to address a specific topic or look further into some windwalker stuff, both live and beta, I’ll be glad to. Contact me via Monk discord, on MMO-Champion, or in-game (pandanaconda#2907 on Europe).
Historically we’ve been used to Blackout Kick being a filler/chi dump and Rising Sun Kick being a stronger alternative, pressing it on cooldown. At times it was extremely strong (during Mist of Pandaria definitely our strongest spell), at times it had less room to shine (when being the alternative to Chi Explosion on AOE) and was only used for the debuff.
With all the changes to windwalker, first thing that comes to mind is “what becomes of Blackout Kick and Rising Sun Kick?” for me. Blackout Kick now costs 1 chi versus 2 for Rising Sun Kick, so I expected the difference to be quite huge between those two, and Blackout Kick to have pitiful damage. It is not that clear cut, to be frank.
Blackout Kick does 325% of AP, Rising Sun Kick does 750%, aka 375% per chi used. This means that Rising Sun Kick, as expected, is 15% more efficient than Blackout Kick, AND it allows you to dump chi in one swing. Although with new mastery some things may differ a bit, it is generally a GOOD thing, dps wise, to dump chi 2 by 2 since if you go 1 by 1 you risk being short on GCDs at times, delaying some key abilities and so on.
However, the story doesn’t end there; artifact traits come into consideration. The first one I’d like to look at, since its the most controversial to me, is Transfer the Power: each Blackout Kick or Rising Sun Kick increases next Fist of Fury damage by 5%, stacking up to 10 times. The stacking cap is irrelevant since you are unlikely to reach it ever, since as you get more haste the window between two Fist of Fury becomes shorter. You also don’t want to delay Fist of Fury for Transfer the Power stacks, since any stacks not used now will be up for following Fist of Fury. What’s the big issue then?
Fist of Fury is very strong, 2500% of AP, so 5% of that is a very relevant 125% of AP. If you take this damage into account, over two damage instances, Blackout Kick deals 450% of AP per chi used, whereas Rising Sun Kick deals 437.5% of AP… Aka Blackout Kick is now more chi efficient than Rising Sun Kick.
Furthermore, you can build up those stacks outside of Storm, Earth and Fire burst then dump them during it; same goes for agility potion/damage amp effects: the more damage amplifications you’ll have on your next Fist of Fury, the better it is to hit Blackout Kick. This is important as the previous issue remains true just because of this: if you’re 15 seconds away from casting Fist of Fury + Strike of the Windlord at the end of a fight and expect to line those two with Gale Burst (+10% damage) and some agility potion of sorts, then you should be spamming Blackout Kick and ignoring Rising Sun Kick.
Of course, we’re not done with artifact traits, and two major traits change this situation. The first one, Crosswinds, enhances your Fist of Fury; I will ignore it for now. The second one will increase Rising Sun Kick damage by 15% on average (I say on average since it has its own crit chance but base damage is 15% of RSK). This doesn’t enhance Blackout Kick, so it’ll just bump Rising Sun Kick damage to 491% of AP when taking transfer the power into consideration. This allows us to keep the smooth situation of Rising Sun Kick > Blackout Kick, at least on paper. Just kidding, there is also a talent, compulsory one, which enhances Blackout Kick damage by 15%, making this a situation again. Oh no, there is one increasing Rising Sun Kick by 9% too…
I’m aware none of this is final, but still wanted to point it out; I’m fine with advanced gameplay of that kind, and high level players spamming Blackout Kick before a big damage phase for a 10 stacks Fist of Fury dealing crazy damage during Gale Burst, but the gain, if any, is extremely slim and uncertain. What I DON’T want is to write a guide for Legion which looks like this:
- “If you have X, Y, Z artifact traits, but not W nor Z, favor Blackout Kick over Rising Sun Kick“
- “If you have X, Y, Z, W artifact traits, but not Z, favor Rising Sun Kick over Blackout Kick unless Gale Burst is coming up in less than Fist of Fury“
- “If you have X, Y, Z, W and Z artifact traits, favor Rising Sun Kick over Blackout Kick unless you’ll be using both Gale Burst and agility potion on next Fist of Fury“
- “… “
TL;DR: Blackout Kick / Rising Sun Kick are close in power, I agree that’s good since sometimes we need to use Blackout Kick for mastery purposes. However, artifact traits mess too much with the balance of Blackout Kick vs Rising Sun Kick because they are too close in power, namely transfer the power.
One easy fix for this situation is just to have, if Transfer the Power is to remain a talent, Rising Sun Kick give 2 stacks of transfer the power, Blackout Kick give only one. Of course, you can make the stacks give less damage (5% seems a lot), but I guess that’s irrelevant if tuning is not done; my point is that Rising Sun Kick/Blackout Kick deal low damage, so changing their damage a lot through artifact traits will confuse people more than anything.