The purpose of this article was to try to discover how much of a buff would Serenity need to be viable or even strong in 8.3
Firstly I would like to discuss why Serenity is fundamentally flawed for AoE DPS this expansion. In Legion Serenity had the potential to be strong in AoE because while it lacked the ease to apply Mark of the Crane to targets once it was able to apply them it had the strength of being able to use Spinning Crane Kick every other global for 8 seconds while regenerating energy and not wasting Chi and this was incredibly powerful when you also consider that Spinning Crane Kick used to cost 3 Chi instead of 2. With Battle for Azeroth, Mark of the Crane had a cap of 5 put on it and it was reduced to 10% per target and Spinning Crane Kick’s Chi cost was reduced to 2. With all of these changes and the Azerite traits we currently use for AoE It allows you to play Storm, Earth, and Fire like you would with Serenity which means using SCK every other global. Because of all these factors Serenity doesn’t provide you with almost any AoE DPS increase besides the 20% damage. One of the small benefits of Serenity in AoE is you aren’t required to press Rising Sun Kick which is usually a DPS loss in AoE.
With all of this said lets get into the testing and many sims that I did to get down to the bottom of this.
With no changes: https://www.raidbots.com/simbot/report/4Up3onC7TW8Pv3WuumHgZN
Increasing Serenity to 25%:
Increasing Serenity to 30%:
Increasing Serenity to 35%:
Serenity becomes net neutral to WDP at around 50%: https://www.raidbots.com/simbot/report/dwC7rxacJ4tgugvjGzWkVq
It also doesn’t help that I’m using Cyclo and I don’t think you would be using this trinket if you were using Serenity. So I swapped my Cyclo for a 430 Inkpod. Which is around the same item level as the Cyclo
Inkpod No Changes: https://www.raidbots.com/simbot/report/hrzw3fsjoepMHJa9AV7QYb
Inkpod Serenity 25%:https://www.raidbots.com/simbot/report/6k3ZsimNG4ghhni64v4nTi
Inkpod Serenity 30%:https://www.raidbots.com/simbot/report/f2hoCxkqt4XuVqy9mqDXgd
Inkpod Serenity 35%:https://www.raidbots.com/simbot/report/9NP3qgkcKfX2r8v8Xff3eD
Again it seems that around 50% is the sweet spot for net neutral: https://www.raidbots.com/simbot/report/rxx6mzcpZ4XejzTh2e93Du
Vision-Inkpod No Changes: https://www.raidbots.com/simbot/report/sQ8dW14K8k5EeQ8VCgNagV
Vision-Inkpod Serenity 25%:https://www.raidbots.com/simbot/report/ZHk5k64Lx7z3QwiA8yUqW
Vision-Inkpod Serenity 30%:https://www.raidbots.com/simbot/report/qAdFk7EZLr3MTmkbSQFGV2
Vision-Inkpod Serenity 35%:https://www.raidbots.com/simbot/report/sDBpom9xKLrkrjkjhLAcvm
It becomes net neutral to WDP at 40%: https://www.raidbots.com/simbot/report/fGN6zXPYNZKoQgyXs9ipH5
Vision-Inkpod Serenity 50% https://www.raidbots.com/simbot/report/jKNWp2Thn6EynDymSbYgTX
Vision-Inkpod Serenity 75%: https://www.raidbots.com/simbot/report/a3ZibhycbkAS8CZfi9C6kC
Vision is better for Serenity than Storm, Earth, and Fire to no surprise but it is significantly worse than CLF major (around 5k DPS) although this could be affected by the APL not taking advantage of Vision procs properly.
Conclusion: Barring APL problems with Serenity, it seems like it would need to be buffed to 50%-60% damage increase for it to be at the worst net neutral to WDP on Single Target. But you will notice that once you start to introduce adds into the fight and we do a Hectic Add Cleave Sim with Serenity at 50%: https://www.raidbots.com/simbot/report/2e6Zn9GrzzExs1D5AJRNPk WDP is just so far ahead of Serenity that it seems like no matter what you do it will not be competitive in AoE situations. I would lean towards buffing to Serenity to 60% damage increase because this will make it the talent of choice on Single Target (https://www.raidbots.com/simbot/report/hrp2xBy73kYXtxLfqmqDLA) being 2.9% ahead while WDP being the talent of choice for Cleave/AoE Situations.
Now this 50%-60% may seem eye opening but there are a lot of forces working against Serenity being good this expansion. One that is particularly relevant this tier is the SEF + ToD 30% Gale Burst interaction for abilities/trinkets that are not copied by the clones. Additionally Serenity lacks the flexibility that Storm, Earth, and Fire has with 2 charges. Historically one of the things that made Serenity strong was the resource generation it provided you but with the Azerite Traits that Windwalker uses currently you are flooded with resources even while playing Storm, Earth, and Fire which is usually a playstyle that is slower because it doesn’t have enough resources. The result is that this resource generation provided by Serenity is usually wasted.
Overall I would say while Serenity could benefit from a rework of its mechanics it is unrealistic to expect this of Blizzard this expansion and I for one would settle for a tuning buff to it make to usable in Single Target which would be a breath of fresh air in this otherwise SEF filled expansion.