As I finally sit down to look at these essences, I am completely overwhelmed. We currently have no way to simulate them, so I have to resort to napkin math, which I’ll readily admit is not my specialty, but its the best we have for a few days till sims are set up. For more information about all the essences, make sure to check out WoWHead’s Essence Page.
With most trinkets I will assume a reasonable stat distribution of 10% Versatility, 20% Crit, 20% Mastery, and 10% Haste, I’ll assume these essences are at Rank 3 with a neck level of 55 since that’s what was testable on the PTR, and I’ll be using my current character So without further ado…
Blood of the Enemy
- Source: Battlegrounds (Available on 8.2 launch)
- Major: Blood of the Enemy – 18,140 shadow damage to all enemies within 12 yards every 90 seconds, you gain 25% Crit chance to the targets hit for 10 seconds and increases your Crit damage by 25% for 5 seconds.
- This adds up to around 200 DPS per target, which isn’t overly strong when we’ll be looking at 30-35k DPS in single target, but the increase Crit chance and damage can be very useful. The more Crit you have, the stronger this will become since you’ll get more use out of the Crit damage increase. Overall, it will depend on how many targets you have access to at that time.
- Minor: Blood-Soaked – Crits grant you a stacking buff that provides 8 Crit per stack, up to 40. When you hit 40 it resets and gives you a 549 Haste buff, and has a 25% chance of consuming only 30 stacks.
- This will depend entirely on how often you Crit. A temporary Haste buff doesn’t tend to benefit Windwalkers very much, nor do we stack Crit.
- Verdict: Both the Major and the Minor sound good, but aren’t things that a Windwalker is going to take advantage of as much as others.
- Source: Eternal Palace Raid (Available start of Season 3)
- Major: Guardian of Azeroth – Summons a guardian for that casts for 8,603 Fire damage every 2 seconds for 30 seconds every 3 minutes. Every 8 seconds it spikes all nearby enemies, each cast gives you 2% Haste up to 10%.
- This works out to 717 DPS single target, plus up to 10% Haste. Haste isn’t great, but its not bad, and after 10 seconds you will have another 10% haste for the remaining 20 seconds, which should fit all of our abilities pretty well. 10% is only a small fraction off our abilities, but its better than nothing.
- Minor: Condensed Life-Force – This procs approximately twice per minute, deals 8,603 Fire damage to the target and increases your damage to that target by 5% for 6 seconds.
- This works out to around 287 DPS, with an additional 1% damage, on average. At roughly 25k DPS, this would mean another 250 DPS which brings the total to just around 525 DPS for the Minor. It will also scale slightly as your overall damage goes up, as if you’re doing 35k DPS, it totals about 625 DPS. Its small, but more than zero.
- Verdict: This is an easy to use Major and Minor that both provide some use for Windwalkers.
Essence of the Focusing Iris
- Source: Mythic Plus (Available start of Season 3)
- Major: Focused Azerite Beam – Looks awesome! After a small channel time deals 92,917 Fire damage over 3 seconds reduced by Haste every 90 seconds.
- This works out to be 1,032 DPS, but does require a window of about 4 seconds to use fully, which can be difficult to find, but worth it. It seems to scale linearly with each target, which makes it potentially insanely strong in cleave. The beam is relatively narrow, so aim carefully.
- Minor: Focused Energy – Gain 31 Haste per stack, up to 10 stacks, as long as you are attacking the same target. Resets on target switch, generate 3 stacks with your first ability.
- Another Haste increase. Windwalker is rather fantastic at rapidly changing targets, which this Minor punishes.
- Verdict: The major has the potential for real craziness if you can get them stacked in a line. The Major will be useful in Mythic Plus if all the targets get in a nice line. The Minor won’t be terrible, but not going to be overly strong either.
- Source: Mechagon (Available on 8.2 launch)
- Major: Purifying Blast – Calls a beam down that does 25,094 damage to all targets inside the beam every minute. Has a chance to automatically kill something. Gives you a 10% damage buff for 8 seconds if something dies within the beam. Once summoned, you can go back to using your regular abilities.
- This ends up being about 418 dps per target. Its a rather large radius, making it good for big groups. The 10% damage buff works out to 1.3% more damage, on average, if you can always kill something inside the radius. At current DPS levels that would add about 333 DPS, and in Eternal Palace probably closer to 455 DPS for a total of 750-850ish DPS.
- Minor: Purification Protocol – Approximately 2 procs per minute, dealing 7,334 damage at the target, deals 50% more damage to Aberrations.
- 245 DPS to normal targets and just shy of 368 DPS to Aberrations.
- Verdict: Very likely to be a very strong Major in sustained AOE, like Mythic Plus. If you’re consistently fighting Aberrations, the Minor should be decent, but unlikely to be super desirable.
The Unbound Force
- Source: Nazjatar Reputation (Available on 8.2 launch)
- Major: The Unbound Force – Hits the target for 9,319 Fire damage over 2 seconds every 45 seconds. Critical strikes deal 300% damage instead of 200%, and each Crit fires an additional strike, up to a maximum of 5. It appears to fire about 7 times, giving you 7 chances to Crit for bonus damage. You are able to continue casting after you activate this as its a buff you gain.
- This could theoretically hit for anywhere from 9,319 damage to 41,936 damage if everything Crits. This would mean it would provide from 207 dps to 932 dps. Neither of which are overly high numbers compared to other Majors.
- Minor: Reckless Force – When an ability doesn’t Crit, you have a “high” chance to gain a stack, when you hit 20 stacks, you’re Crit chance is increased by 70% for 4 seconds.
- This is an interesting one since it actually rewards lower Crit chance, since you’ll have a higher uptime on the buff. Windwalkers tend to hover in the 15-30% Crit chance range, which would be perfect for this Minor.
- Verdict: The Major isn’t too great, because of the nature of Windwalker’s Crit chance, we don’t stack it very high, making it hard for us to take advantage of all the extra bonuses from the Major. The Minor may work very well for Windwalker depending on how much uptime a Windwalker can get.
Conflict and Strife
- Source: Rated PvP (Available 2nd week of Season 3)
- Major: Conflict – Lets you use Reverse Harm in PvE. Defensive benefit of Versatility is doubled when stunned. Dispelling, interrupting, or applying a loss of control effect grants you a stack of Strife (see below), and any Vers granted by Strife is doubled for 5 seconds.
- I talked about this a bit in my article about the three spec-based essences. With my current character having around 260k health buffed, this does about 22,880 damage per cast, max. With its incredibly short cooldown, this means that it can do 2.28k DPS if used to its maximum potential. This is absolutely bananas, and that’s without any consideration for the extra bonuses in case you, for any reason, can get a stack of Strife from stunning or dispelling.
- Minor: Strife – Abilities have a chance to grant you 47 Versatility that stacks up to 8 times, for 14 seconds.
- I believe this buff should be maintainable at 8 stacks reasonably easily, but I’m not sure. If that’s the case, a static 376 Vers is pretty strong, and it being doubled for 5 seconds when you dispel, interrupt, or stun, is just incredible.
- Verdict: As much as it pains me that this comes from Rated PvP, this essence is almost certainly going to be the top dog Major. The strength of the minor depends entirely on how much you can keep up the buff. If you’re using the Major (you automatically also get the Minor) and can use any dispels, interrupts, or stuns, like in Mythic Plus, this will be a absolutely insanely powerful essence. Do whatever you have to do to get this essence.
The Crucible of Flame
- Source: Heart Forge Quests (Available on 8.2 launch)
- Major: Concentrated Flame – Every 30 seconds; Blast a target for 10,320 Fire damage, then burns for another 75% over 6 seconds. Each cast increases damage by 100%, resets after third cast. 2 stacks at Rank 3.
- First cast deals a total of 18,060 Fire damage, second cast deals 36,120, third cast deals 54,180. That’s a total of 108,360 every 90 seconds, which is about 1,204 DPS.
- Minor: Ancient Flame – Abilities have a chance to deal 7,865 fire damage over 10 seconds, stacking up to 3 times. Approximately 1.25 procs per minute.
- Works out to be around 164 DPS unless you get super lucky with procs. Nothing much else really to say.
- Verdict: Looks to be a very strong single target Major, but a completely lackluster Minor.
Memory of Lucid Dreams
- Source: Nazjatar Quest (Available on 8.2 launch)
- Major: Memory of Lucid Dreams – Increases your Energy Regen by 100% for 12 seconds.
- This will be very difficult to manage in single target, since we have to worry about Chi as well. In M+ where its much easier to spend excess resources, this may be a strong Major. At Rank 3 it has a 2 minute cooldown, which means that it provides at least an additional 10 energy per second, or 120 energy every 2 minutes, which is roughly half as much as Energizing Elixir that provides 2 Chi (worth 50 energy) and 75 energy, for a total of 125 energy every 1 minute.
- Minor: Lucid Dream – Spells have a chance to refund 50% of the Energy they cost as well as increase your Versatility by 327 for 8 seconds.
- Just like the Major, its very difficult for Windwalkers to make use of this Energy since we have two resources to manage. It will be very strong at the right time, and much stronger in M+ where you can much more easily spend all the resources.
- Verdict: Beyond the fact that it will be difficult to take advantage of in single target, it just doesn’t provide very much. Depending on the proc chance, it may be a decently strong Minor for Mythic Plus since it will be much easier to use on sustained AOE.
Ripple in Space
- Source: War Mode (Available on 8.2 launch)
- Major: Ripple in Space – 90 second cooldown, places a “beacon” at a target location and, after 2 seconds, teleports you to that beacon, dealing 14,694 Fire damage to all enemies in the area.
- This is a weird one. Its like a Transcendence that you can’t control as much, and it deals damage. It deals about 163 DPS per target that it hits, making it pretty lackluster.
- Minor: Reality Shift – Movement speed is increased by 5%, after moving more than 25 yards over 4 seconds, gain 540 Agility for 20 seconds, can occur every 30 seconds.
- The weirdness continues. It was super hard to get to work on till I realized that it only procs in combat. It does appear to track how far you’ve moved to get into that combat, so it should work if you Flying Serpent Kick to the target. I also couldnt get it to proc when running circles around the target dummy on PTR, it only procced when I moved in a straight line, although I didnt test every permutation of movement. My best guess is that its 25 yards of linear distance, so back-and-forth and circular movement don’t do anything to proc it. If you could somehow proc it every 30 seconds without losing damage, it averages out to 360 Agility, which is pretty solid, but certainly not worth the extra work. Even double Chi Torpedo back and in
- Verdict: The Major’s damage is low, its annoying to use. The Minor is shockingly hard to get to proc as all the ways that I could think of to get it to proc repeatedly never did. Unless I’m missing something, maybe it will be good for World Quests and when you’re leveling for next expansion…. maybe.
Vision of Perfection
- Source: Operation: Mechagon (Available start of Season 3)
- Major: Vision of Perfection – Spells have a chance to activate Serenity or Storm, Earth, and Fire for 35% of its maximum duration. At Rank 3 it provides 107 Haste to you and 2 allies for 10 seconds.
- Right now there’s just no information that I could find about how often this will proc, so anything is speculation. This Essence depends entirely on whether it procs at the right time, and how often.
- Minor: Strive for Perfection – Reduces the cooldown of Storm, Earth, and Fire and Serenity by 13% and increases your Versatility by 45.
- This shouldn’t be a bad Minor. Like all previous affects like it, it will depend on whether that cooldown reduction gets you an extra cast of an ability, or a better timed one.
- Verdict: Without more information and simulations, its impossible to really gauge the strength of the Major. The Minor should be strong, and be one you’ll want to have almost all the time, specially in longer fights or Mythic Plus. Its unclear, but unlikely, that this will push us away from Whirling Dragon Punch and toward Serenity, although that will take significant time to determine.
- Source: Island Expeditions (Available on 8.2 launch)
- Major: Worldvein Resonance – 60 second cooldown. Summons 3 Lifeblood Shards near you that last for 18 seconds. Each Shard that is within 12 yards provides 154 Agility, up to 4 shards.
- This essence can be absolutely insane with more people using it. With the Minor and some staggering, you can pretty much guarantee full uptime on 4 stacks of the buff, for around 600 Agility. This would amount to roughly 6-7% more Agility, which is pretty damn strong.
- Minor: Lifeblood – Every 1-25 seconds, summons a Lifeblood Shard.
- If you can trick others to using the Major so you can just benefit on the Minor without giving up a major slot, this is likely to be a mandatory Minor. 600 Agility for almost no work is incredible.
- Verdict: I may be in love with this essence. It gives people a reason to do islands, which I enjoy, and its one that you can actively help your allies around you, and they can help you. It will be super easy for Melee to keep it up just about 100% of the time with just 2-3 people using the Major and the rest using the Minor.
Here’s where things get even more complicated, since when you pick a Major, you also get a Minor, so any rating or ranking for Majors, also has to consider their Minor ability. You can also respec these just using a Tome, so you can switch as easily as you would switch talents. So I’ll try to rank or rate these essences by Major/Minor and just Minor for a variety of content. This is absolutely not final!!! I’ll eventually add a chart like this to the guide, and it will likely change half a dozen times in the next few weeks. I’m sure not everyone will agree with these rankings, which is why they’ll change over time.
Major + Minor
Its 100% certain that without any changes, Conflict and Strife will be our best Major essence. Even at Rank 1, its going to be stronger than just about everything at Rank 3. You’ll be able to get about 1/3 of the benefit from the Major and still have it be stronger than anything else.
The problem comes in when we can get these essences. Conflict and Strife won’t be available till the start of Mythic raid week, since the new PvP/M+ season will start with Heroic week. Its strong enough that you’ll want to make sure you get it ASAP, specially if you can find a way to hit 2.4k rating by the end of the first week, but 1000 rating should be doable and a goal to aim for. In the interim you’ll probably want to use Crucible of Flames for everything till you can get Essence of the Focusing Iris, the first week of Season 3, which you’d use on AOE and stick with Crucible on sustained single target. For scenarios with sustained multi-targets, Essence of the Focusing Iris will be the default Major until you can get Conflict and Strife to Rank 3 or 4.
You will almost certainly not have enough AP for your first Minor slot for awhile. After that, I’d expect you’ll want your remaining two Minor slots to be Worldvein and Vision of Perfection for Raids, Vision of Perfection and Memory of Lucid Dreams for Mythic Plus, unless you get a group that all have Worldvein Resonance on, then you’d want Vision and Worldvein. For open World content you’ll probably keep Conflict and Strife as your Major and roll with Vision of Perfection and Condensed Life-force as Minors.
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