Today I got the opportunity to join in the raid testing this evening, so first a big thanks to Eliro, <Clique> EU-Draenor, and <Myst> EU-Draenor, for letting me tag along with them.

 

Alpha Changes

But before that, we got another Alpha build today with some more changes for Windwalker:

Read Changes Here

  •  Rising Sun Kick Windwalker: Kick upwards, dealing (106.86%115% of Attack power) damage, and reducing the effectiveness of healing on the target for 10 sec
  •  Spinning Crane Kick Windwalker: Spin while kicking in the air, dealing [4 * (16.38%10% of Attack power)] damage over 1.50 sec to enemies within 8 yds.
  •  Windwalker Monk

  •  Fist of the White Tiger   Strike your target with the technique of the White Tiger, dealing [(87.75% of Attack power) + (87.75% of Attack power)] Physical damage to your target while generating 3 Chi.damage. Generates 3 Chi.
  •  Inner Strength   Each Chi you spend reduces damage taken by 3% for 42% for 5 sec sec, stacking up to 5 times.
  •  Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger   Summons an effigy of Xuen, the White Tiger for 20 sec. Xuen attacks your primary target, and strikes 3 enemies within 10 yards every 1 sec with Tiger Lightning for (35%28% of Attack power) Nature damage.
  •  Tornado Kicks   Rising Sun Kick strikes a second time for 25%20% additional damage.
  •  Whirling Dragon Punch   Performs a devastating whirling upward strike, dealing [3 * (82.9319% of Attack power)] damage to all nearby enemies. Only usable while both Fists of Fury and Rising Sun Kick are on cooldown.
  •  Wind Strikes   When you use Fists of Fury, your next 3 Tiger Palm attacksPalms release a gust of wind that deals (52.65% of Attack power)% Physical damage to all enemies 8 yards in front of you.

Some of these, such as Fist of the White TigerWind Strikes, and Whirling Dragon Punch, are just tooltip changes and don’t mean much. There is also a Blackout Kick change that really just changes the formula, not the damage.

Buffs

The first, and main, buff is to Rising Sun Kick. This is a positive change as it moves Rising Sun Kick closer to its rightful place in the priority. This, if you read my last (now futile) article about the Blackout Kick 3 second cooldown, is a pretty big point of weirdness for current Windwalker as the different priorities do not match up with current live, and just seem to not make sense.

The other “buff” is the removal of Blackout Kick‘s 3 second cooldown, as this was unintended.

You could also consider the change to Inner Strength as both a buff and nerf as its a nerf to its maximum, but a buff to its uptime. In the previous article about my impressions about the talents, I suggested that Inner Strength needed to be have its duration increased a small amount so that it could be a little bit more consistent.

 

Nerfs

This build came with more nerfs than buffs:

Spinning Crane Kick was nerfed again, somewhat significantly. This may not make much sense to many people as much of Windwalker’s AOE has been pretty drastically reduced. However, many other specs also had their AOE reduced drastically, so it won’t be clear where Windwalker stands compared to other specs for many months.

Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger also had his damage reduced. This is a change I expected and feel was warranted as his damage was quite higher than the other talents in that row. For an example, on the raid testing, Xuen managed to be around 8% of my damage in a fight with a decent amount of AOE. This would be compared to the 6% from Hit Combo, and the difficult/annoyance of using Rushing Jade Wind. More, almost certainly, needs to be done to this tier of talents, but nerfing Xuen is a move toward balance.

Tornado Kicks had its damage reduced from 25% of a Rising Sun Kick to 20%. This is an understandable change as the talent was strong for that tier, although not the strongest, and entirely passive damage. This is keeping with how most passive talents are handled.

 

Overall I think these changes were largely positive and in keeping with what I feel the spec needs to continue improving.

 

Raid Testing

As I mentioned in the beginning, I had the chance to join <Clique> and <Myst> in the raid testing today for Zek’vozj in the Uldir raid. Overall it was a cool boss with interesting mechanics that didn’t feel entirely new, nor recycled. If you’d like to watch a recap of my stream where I pulled the boss a few times as well as answered many people’s questions you can check out the VoD: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/249984314 You can also check out the logs, courtesy of Tisumi: https://www.warcraftlogs.com/reports/Z6bthBMW2af4wTgF

Here are my feelings on the testing:

Boss Design

The boss’s model is familiar, reminiscent of Heart of Fear and the boss Garalon (the raid killer). The room is somewhat star-shaped with a pretty nice style and color scheme.

The boss him/her/itself didn’t seem overly complex. There was a mechanic that you need to run out of, or stand in the safe zones. This group elected to pull the boss to the other side of the room, which is probably not the way its intended. Adds spawned at regular intervals and fixated on raid members, which needed to be cleaved down quickly, and facilitated pulling the boss to a corner so that you could line-of-sight them into a group for stuns and AOE. If they caught up to their target they did moderate damage, but added a stacking buff that really really started hurting after awhile.

There were also abilities that seemed to be named after, or cast by, the other Old Gods that we’re familiar with. For example, C’thun put a mark on a player and did pretty large damage to any players around that target, meaning they had to run out.

We only got to what appeared to be the second phase once. This second phase seemed to be based around killing and managing four adds that spawn and the adds that they then spawn. The boss is still active during this time, so it was somewhat hectic trying to figure out what to do.

Thats mostly what I got to see and overall I liked it. The design seemed difficult, but not impossible. Appropriate for the mid-raid boss that hew was.

 

Windwalker Performance

This is the one that you’re all here for so….

Discounting all the issues that come with using the base UI instead of my beautiful custom made one, with no addons or weakauras, I think Windwalker performed very well. This is a fight that the current version of Windwalker would absolutely destroy. There are regular adds that spawn that are grouped up nicely and CC’d so you can go bananas on them, there is movement that a Windwalker is more than capable of. Its a fight that seems made for Windwalkers currently.

Now, looking at Windwalkers on Alpha, its still a strong fight. There’s enough adds that SEF will be useful, but not so many that you’ll spend half the time building stacks. They’re stacked up nicely for FoF and WDP, and spawn regularly enough that you can have SEF up for most of the spawns. If you’re fixated then its very easy to just stay on the boss and let your clones do the heavy lifting. I didn’t to see the later phases of the fight, but Phase 1 seems to be a very strong phase for Windwalkers. Being able to aim a Chi Burst at the adds then cast Spinning Crane Kick right away so that you get that Chi back automatically is pretty amazing and definitely one of those tricks that the best Windwalkers will totally abuse for more damage.

I tried a small variety of talents but as I only have a few logs, its hard to see if anything was best. Xuen was too strong, doing nearly 8% of my damage on a fight with heavy AOE. RJW was annoying to keep up 100% of the time during the fight, but easy to keep up if you just turn it on for AOE phases, and did rather respectable damage. Serenity was still not working on Alpha, so I didn’t try that talent at all, but may allow for some pretty intense burst AOE on the adds.

The changes to adding things to the GCD is somewhat jarring at first, but just takes getting used to and planning around. I don’t doubt that it would become natural and second-nature with a small amount of time and practice.

Compared to other specs, Windwalker damage was reasonable. Although thats really completely meaningless as we’re months away from balance patches.

Overall, I was very pleased with playing my Windwalker in the raid, as I largely have been for all of Alpha so far. It is fun and engaging, but at a pace that fits my preference. Even with some of our skills getting removed or nerfed, it still feels full and has a good pace. Downtime seems more evenly split throughout the rotation than it does on live. The cooldown reduction that comes from Blackout Kick makes the spec play very nicely and smoothly without feeling empty or overflowing.

 

Eliro on Testing

Eliro gave me some thoughts on testing:

“I thought the boss was cool although the tactic of dragging the boss side to side trivializes the zone mechanic which would be really cool otherwise (reminiscent of Blackfuse), rjw was slightly annoying to play with, although pretty decent on AOE. Xuen feels really high impact as a cooldown, which is nice to see as I love the cat, although that just falls with tuning.SEF on GCD not really that impactful compared to what I imagined. The Blackout Kick CD reduction mechanic is very very nice to play with.

It was such an odd experience playing on 200ms with a completely alien UI and a bunch of new stuff and still really enjoying it. I don’t know if I initially mentioned it to you but I despise EE when it’s on the gcd”

 

Again, a huge thank  you to Eliro, <Clique> EU-Draenor, and <Myst> EU-Draenor, for letting me tag along. I have not had great success in raid testing in the past, but this was a great experience.


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