Not long ago I started a thread on Reddit asking the community for suggestions on how to improve the spec. You can still contribute to that thread, and vote on suggestions. I’ll take some of the more popular suggestions and go in-depth into them like I will below.
Many people enjoy playing Windwalker, and there’s a lot of great things about the spec, but there’s always things that can be improved. Although, in the thread, I specified that I wasn’t looking to just advocate for more damage, there is certainly some things that can be done to improve the spec that can be purely numerical.
One area this is possible is balancing our talents. It’s no secret that Windwalkers have little to no variation in our talents. And why this helps us save money in Tome of the Tranquil Mind, it does seem counter to the design of talents, and it feels weird to have 2/3 of our talents not be used in just about any situation. So, in this article I’ll look at our DPS talents and how they can be balanced closer so that they may be more widely used.
I won’t touch our utility talents since their use comes down to fight design and situation more than the design of the talents themselves. I will also generally look at bringing the lesser performing talents up to the level of the higher performing one, mostly because it’s easiest to use as a baseline, but partly because I don’t need people yelling about me asking for nerfs. (It’s happened before, sometimes justifiably)
All numbers will be looked at based on %Attack Power or %AP, since that’s how just about all our abilities are set up. Attack Power is actually a combination of your Agility and Weapon Damage, but for the purposes of this article, all are the same, so I’ll just use %AP. I’ll also be including damage bonuses like our Windwalker Monks as well as damage decreases like Armor reduction (30.01%) into all the calculations, so don’t be surprised if the numbers I use don’t exactly match the tooltips. For the sake of consistency, I’ll be assuming that the character has 10% Vers, 10% Haste, 20% Crit, and 20% Mastery. These are very reasonable numbers for a character, so a good baseline. Some change in stats can change some of these results slightly, but shouldn’t change them drastically.
I will mainly be looking at things from a single target perspective, but will delve into multi-target situations for a few talents. This is part two in a multi-part series looking at what works and what can be improved for the spec.
Remember, I’m not a mathematician, so don’t be shocked if some of the math is slightly, or completely, wrong. I’m doing my best.
Level 45 Talents
This tier is one that many people wish was better balanced. Some people just want the extra resource cap space and one less button that Ascension provides. Others like the flow that Fist of the White Tiger provides with being the perfect generator before Fists of Fury. Some misguided individuals long for the days of Energizing Elixir, for some reason. Regardless, this is another talent tier, like the level 15 talents, that is very reasonable to balance, and doing so would allow for nice flexibility depending on situation and preference.
First thing, like with the other talents, is to take a look at what all of these provide and how we can normalize them. Because they all provide resources, but in a slightly different way, this is slightly easier than the level 15 talents, but still not simple. In the last article, I established that one Chi is worth roughly 148.51% AP, so that will be important now.
Ascension – This one is most different, since the most haste you start with, the more benefit you get from this talent. At the 10% Haste that I’m using for these articles, that only takes your 11 Energy per second regeneration and turns it into 12.1 Energy per second. This 1.1 Energy per second gain translates to 0.044 Chi per second or 0.22% AP per second; add to that the 0.022 of a Tiger Palm for another 0.69% AP per second and you get 0.9% AP per second. Now, you also get to start with 20 more energy, which is 0.8 Chi and 0.4 of a Tiger Palm. This adds another 16.488% AP that gets less over time. If the fight lasts 10 seconds, then that’s 1.65% AP per second. At, the common default, of 300 seconds, that’s 0.05% AP, bringing the grand total to, generously, 1% AP per second. Now, obviously this seems like crap, and that’s why no one advocates for using Ascension anywhere near a raid or boss fight. However, the strength of this talent comes from the extra cap room, letting you pool resources better. It is also strongest in short fights with gaps in between for your energy to regen, such as in dungeons or raids during trash. That is why you see some people advocate for using it in M+.
Energizing Elixir – Since they’ve made an, in my opinion, improvement to this talent in the works for 8.1.5, I will use that new version for this discussion. Assuming you don’t use it when you’re already at cap, you’ll find no problem getting 100% of the use out of this talent. That means that every 60 seconds you’ll generate 75 Energy and 2 Chi. 75 Energy equates to roughly 3 Chi, for a total of 5 Chi, which equals roughly 742.55% AP plus 31.32% AP from Tiger Palm, for a total of 773.87% AP every 60 seconds or 12.9% AP per second.
Fist of the White Tiger – The first thing to do is to realize that this is really just replacing one Tiger Palm every 30 seconds. With that, it provides 1 more Chi, costs 10 less Energy, and does 89.72% AP more in damage. 10 Energy equals 0.4 Chi, bringing the total to 1.4 Chi equal to 207.91% AP from resources, plus 1/5 of a Tiger Palm from the energy; add that to the 89.72% AP it does up front and you get 303.9% AP every 30 seconds or 10.13% AP per second.
Next step is to balance them.
- Ascension – Because of how Ascension works, there really isn’t a way to balance this with the rest without finding a way to quantify the extra benefits it provides. In the past it had spent time as increasing energy regeneration by 15% and 20%, but has been 10% since late in the Beta for Legion. It could very easily go back to 15% or 20% and see more use without being overpowered.
- Energizing Elixir – With the change to this talent that is currently planned for 8.1.5, it becomes a very usable talent, and super easy to get the full use out of it. This is different from currently where it “technically” generates 100 energy, but you can really only make use of 60-70 of it. This planned change for 8.1.5 is a change we’ve been asking for for many months, and now that it looks like we’re getting it, its likely to make Energizing Elixir the strongest talent in this tier, so we’ll use its 12.9% AP per second as the baseline for balancing Fist of the White Tiger.
- Fist of the White Tiger – With the change coming to Energizing Elixir, Fist of the White Tiger is roughly 2.77% AP per second behind. This gap could be fixed by simply changing the amount of damage that Fist of the White Tiger provides to roughly 222% AP in the base formula. It could also be solved by reducing the Energy cost to roughly 27.5 energy, or a mix of the two. For example, if the Energy cost is reduced to 30, then Fist of the White Tiger provides another 10 energy over Tiger Palm, which is equal to 0.4 Chi and 0.2 Tiger Palm, then Fist of the White Tiger would only be 0.58% AP per second behind Energizing Elixir, meaning that the base AP% would just need to be made to 100% AP in the base formula. Changing it to an Energy cost of 30 and AP% of 100% seems like the easiest and cleanest way to very adequately balance these two abilities.
A few other things need to be said about the above balancing. Many people, myself included, feel that Fist of the White Tiger “feels” MUCH better than Energizing Elixir. This is partly because Energizing Elixir is just another ability that triggers the GCD that doesn’t do any immediate damage, bringing our total to 4, and our opener having 4 roughly consecutive GCDs that are just “setup”. Another reason is that Fist of the White Tiger providing 3 Chi, the perfect amount for Fists of Fury, “feels” really nice. Since its inception, it has “felt” like the way that the spec should be played. Fist of the White Tiger also provides another ability that helps us to balance our resources and weave in Blackout Kick.
However, in AOE where resources are at a premium, and the single target damage from Fist of the White Tiger will matter less, Energizing Elixir will be tough to beat since it can provide a TON of resources over a short period of time to pump into AOE abilities. That means that by adequately balancing these two abilities, Windwalkers will return to choosing between the two depending on what the encounter calls for. Ascension can also still be used largely in M+ situations, and would benefit from a buff to help. If you have traits that generate resources such as, Open Palm Strikes, Fury of Xuen, and Glory of the Dawn then Ascension can be beneficial to help you make use of all those resources without hitting the cap as easily.
These talents are already reasonably balanced, it was the function of how Energizing Elixir was on the GCD and gave its resources that made this tier entirely about Fist of the White Tiger. It was also our lack of resource generation that kept and keeps Ascension too far behind to think much about, since the increasing of our resource caps is such a major part of the talent.
Again, like I said in the last article, this stuff is hard. This article is only three talents in one spec of one class, and arguably our easiest set of talents to balance, and it still took a decent amount of time to put together.