Blizzard recently announced a round of Azerite trait tuning changes that affect Windwalkers, in a big way.
Archive of the Titans: Primary stat bonus increased by 20%
Laser Matrix: Damage reduced by 30%
Thunderous Blast: Damage reduced by 35%
(Windwalker) Iron Fists: Required targets reduced to 3
(Windwalker) Swift Roundhouse: Damage bonus reduced by 55%
So.. what now?
Well, obviously this is a huge hit to the Swift Roundhouse playstyle, and pretty much certainly erases it as an option. This is going to be a reasonably large hit to our single target damage, what was heavily reliant on Swift Roundhouse and its playstyle combined with Serenity to be strong.
While we wait for the sims to update, and for the dust to settle, I will attempt to take a guess at how this will affect our DPS.
Currently, the Mythic Uldir simulation profile sims at 18,766 DPS, with the average Rising Sun Kick hitting for roughly 40119 damage. If you remove the Swift Roundhouse traits, in order to force it back to the “normal” playstyle, that profile gets 15,658 DPS, with the Swift Roundhouse-less Rising Sun Kick hitting for 19630. Obviously, we’re not going to lose 16.6% of our DPS, because there will still be damage from the traits. So the 3 Swift Roundhouse traits added 10244.5 damage per stack, to each Rising Sun Kick.
Now we go to the sim without the Swift Roundhouse traits to add back in the damage that was needed. After the 55% nerf, each stack would increase the damage of Rising Sun Kick by 4609.6 damage. In the profile that uses the “normal” playstyle, there are 68.4 Blackout Kick and 87.7 Rising Sun Kick, so there would only be 68.4 stacks of Swift Roundhouse to be used. That means that 3 Swift Roundhouse traits adds 315,296 damage, or 1051 DPS.
This brings the grand total of the “normal” Swift Roundhouse profile up to 16,484 DPS, or 13.8% less damage than the unnerfed Swift Roundhouse profile. This should be the maximum nerf, and anyone using less than 385 item level traits will see less than this.
For added reference, using my character which as 3x Swift Roundhouse traits on 340/340/370 pieces, the now “old” Swift Roundhouse playstyle sims at 15,502 DPS, with the profile without Swift Roundhouse traits simming at 13,461 DPS. My character gains 745 DPS with the nerfed traits, for a total of 14,206 DPS. This means that the 55% nerf to Swift Roundhouse would result in 9.1% less damage for my character without changing any gear around.
When simming with Whirling Dragon Punch, each stack of Swift Roundhouse provides 6758 damage to Rising Sun Kick. With 48.3 stacks to use, after the nerf that adds 146,885 damage or 489.6 DPS. So the nerfed profile simmed at 16,613 DPS compared to the unnerfed profile’s 17,513 DPS. This means that it is a 5.4% damage loss to the profile when using Whirling Dragon Punch.
It also means that the profile does more damage with Whirling Dragon Punch, as with Whirling Dragon Punch it did 16,613 DPS compared to Serenity’s 16,484 DPS. So its likely that we’ll be back to using Whirling Dragon Punch for everything.
Currently, according to Bloodmallet, Swift Roundhouse is in first place by a HUGE margin, with 3 traits being more than 1,300 DPS higher than 2nd place. However, because at 2 traits the sim profile switches to the Swift Roundhouse playstyle, the DPS increase is not linear. The first trait adds 705 DPS, 2nd adds 1280 DPS, and the third ads another 1065 DPS.
Now that the Swift Roundhouse playstyle is likely dead, the damage added per trait would stack more linearly, meaning that each trait would add 705 DPS. BUT, it was nerfed by 55%, so each trait would add 387 DPS. This means that at 3 traits, it would add 1161 DPS. According to the chart, this puts it right below, or even with, Filthy Transfusion. It still would be our best spec trait, and somewhere around 5th overall for traits once you consider the nerfs to Thunderous Blast, if we were still using Serenity. However, now that we’re back to using Whirling Dragon Punch, its one of the worst.
So the next thing I can do is to look at the logs we have available to us and see where Windwalker will fall after these nerfs. Looking back at the past week’s data, Windwalker largely held its spot from the previous week. However, if you were to take away around 10% damage, as a conservative estimate, the data changes quite a bit. Windwalkers fall below the average range pretty consistently, and even securely at the bottom of the charts using Heroic data. Obviously, this isn’t quite exact as the change will be more or less than 10% damage loss, and other specs did also see Azerite trait tuning, but it is a reasonable guess based on the data I’ve found tonight.
So, as of now, there has been no compensation buffs listed, but that doesn’t mean they wont come…. soon ™. With a pretty flat damage loss of 10% or so, this will hopefully justify buffs to bring things back in line. With the PTR for 8.1 going live soon, and hopefully changes to Touch of Karma or Good Karma coming with that, we could lose another 10-15% of our damage, which should certainly prompt buffs to bring everything back where it should be. There’s not really more than can be said about it beyond that the change is hopefully big enough to throw some red flags.
I don’t PvP, so I can’t comment on how hard this will be on the PvP side. However, I can only guesstimate it will be HUGE, likely bigger than in PvE where we have AOE in M+ and some bosses, and Swift Roundhouse traits were going to be hard to find in Uldir. I would imagine that Swift Roundhouse‘s strength is a HUGE boon in PvP, and losing it may be devastating.
The Bright Side?
So although this is all pretty bleak, its not quite the end of the world, or at least its the apocalypse before we’re all delivered to paradise. The last time Windwalkers were in this rough a place was the time between the end of Tomb of Sargeras and before Antorus when the 6 piece playstyle was murdered. It was a dark time for Windwalker, and very tough to slog through the horrible DPS. Thankfully, even this change wasn’t as big as that time, so if you survived that, you should be able to survive this. Everyone who plays Windwalker now likely knows how strong it was in Antorus, and many of whom are probably playing because of how strong it is. Because of all the damage we’re losing with this change and the “hopefully” coming change to Touch of Karma/Good Karma, we should see something changed to compensate. This may come in the form of changing our Windwalker Aura from -27% to closer to -7% or less. This would be a fantastic change as it shifts some damage into the actual abilities rather than propping them up by talents and traits. It also shifts some damage back into AOE, an area that many have felt was lacking compared to the past. Theoretically this could lead to Windwalkers being solid in all aspects without having to rely on very specific traits to be successful.
It should be obvious to anyone who’s able to look at this all objectively, but the Swift Roundhouse nerf was warranted, in a vacuum. The trait was CLEARLY too strong compared to other traits, and now its reasonably inside the bunch. However, the enormous affect this has on the thousands of Windwalkers who have 1-3 of these traits will hopefully not go unnoticed, and our sacrifices will not be in vain. Here’s the TLDR:
- 13.8% nerf to the current SimCraft profile, less for anyone without 385 azerite pieces
- 9.1% less damage for my character without changing any gear around (370/340/340 pieces and 3x traits)
- 5.4% damage loss to the profile when using Whirling Dragon Punch
- Likely that we’ll be back to using Whirling Dragon Punch for everything
- It still would be our best spec trait, and somewhere around 5th overall for traits, if we were still using Serenity. However, now that we’re back to using Whirling Dragon Punch, its one of the worst.
- Currently no compensation buff announced, this page will be updated if it does
- Maybe the falling sky before the second coming?
- For everything else we must wait for sims