So now that Warlocks, Death Knights, Mages, and Shaman saw a post from Blizzard about some changes coming to them in Shadowlands, I figured now is as good a time as ever to toss out my ideas for how to improve Windwalker. I’ll start by identifying the problem then my solution to fix it. These are a smidge more realistic and less “pie-in-the-sky” than my ideas from last year.
Problem: Touch of Karma
Although it may not seem like it, Touch of Karma is actually a HUGE problem for Windwalker and has been for a long time. Beyond the fact that it promotes a “degenerate playstyle” where you have to use your defensive abilities for offensive gain, which will be getting worse in Shadowlands with Fortifying Brew coming back, its always been one of the biggest barriers that Windwalker has had to good scaling. Because it only scales with Stamina and Versatility, it means that Windwalker doesn’t scale with Agility, Critical Strike, Mastery, or Haste as much as it could. Scaling has been a problem for Windwalkers for years, and Touch of Karma is one contributing factor.
Solution: Good/Bad Karma
I’m starting with this one because its the easiest one. The simple fix is for baseline Touch of Karma to just be a damage absorb. The talent “Good Karma” would then add the healing portion like it does now, and a PvP talent “Bad Karma” could be added so that people can still use it as a deterrent in PvP. Boom! Problem solved.
Problem: Invoke Xuen Scaling
This is one that has really not been a problem historically, but will become a bigger problem in Shadowlands. Similar to Touch of Karma, the problem with Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger is that he contributes to some of the scaling problems that Windwalkers have had in the past. This has, historically, been offset by the fact that we’d just switch to Hit Combo once Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger got out-scaled, but since its becoming baseline in Shadowlands, it will be a slightly bigger problem that could use addressing. For reference, Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger scales with Agility, Critical Strike, and Versatility, and his auto-attacks scale with Haste, but his Tiger Lightning doesn’t, and he doesn’t scale at all with Mastery.
Solution: Fix Scaling
This is another easy solution; just make him scale with all our stats. Currently the Fallen Monks from the Venthyr Covenant ability, scale with all our stats, so then there’s no reason that Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger shouldn’t as well. Even just adding Mastery scaling to his damage would be a BIG step toward minimizing any scaling problems. Historically the reason that he didn’t scale with Mastery was because our Mastery reads “your abilities” and technically Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger‘s attacks aren’t “your abilities” but his. However, HE is one of “your abilities”, so its a grey area that we could use to swing in our favor.
Problems: Hit Combo/Serenity
I lumped these two together because I have a solution for both, even though they both have different problems. Although Hit Combo itself isn’t a problem, its place in the talent tier, and general similarity to our Mastery make it relatively lackluster. It often feels more like a punishment for mistakes than a benefit for playing well. Its “all-or-nothing” mentality just means that one mistake sets you back for several seconds. It doesn’t feel rewarding to use well, it feels punishing to not; and positive reinforcement is better than negative reinforcement.
Serenity saw changes coming in BfA that lead to it never being used due to its difficulty being tuned and the strength and flexibility of Storm, Earth, and Fire with its two charges and access to Whirling Dragon Punch. In order for it to be seen as useful it would need a pretty sizable buff to its damage, or another complete overhaul of how it works. Jfunk theorized that unless it was increased to 50-60% more damage during its duration, it would still not be used.
Solution: Serenity 2.0
So you know how I said that I had an idea to fix both of them? Well I present to you; Serenity 2.0 (really 3.0 or even 4.0 at this point).
Serenity – Every X consecutive abilities that trigger Combo Strikes provides a stack of Serenity. Any ability that is a copy of the previous ability (doesn’t trigger Combo Strikes) will, instead, consume a stack of Serenity, allowing it to still benefit from Combo Strikes. Each stack of Serenity increases all damage by X% per stack, up to X.
So this would, in my opinion, just be best as a baseline, or even an altering of our Mastery. It could be used as a talent, but balancing would be difficult. This would give Serenity a new use, and make Hit Combo less punishing for any little mistakes. A mistake would only cost you the small loss of damage buff until you’re able to get that stack back and repetitive mistakes would cost more stacks than you’d generate in that time, so it would require good play to get the most out of. It would also open up some big brain plays like using Spinning Crane Kick back to back in AOE to use a stack and still get the Mastery bonus, but cost a stack, giving a trade-off for more burst damage now vs less damage as you build up stacks.
I know I already provided one solution for the scaling problems with Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger above, but this takes it one step further and looks to kill another bird with this stone. To add to the scaling problem with Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger, he also has the problem of not being very interactive as a cooldown, you just press him once every few minutes and watch him scratch and claw for some damage, assuming the always fun Pet/Guardian AI has him do what he’s supposed to be doing.
A big problem that has been one for… just about forever…. is Storm, Earth, and Fire. There is a HUGE list of bugs and concerns with this ability. New things, almost without fail, won’t interact correctly with Storm, Earth, and Fire and Blizzard will have to find a fix or workaround. These workarounds have a very high frequency of causing other problems or weird bugs or interactions that can be to our detriment or benefit. They will visually, and sometimes functionally, just stand around and do nothing. The list is long.
Solution: True “Invoke” Xuen
So to try and fix both of these abilities, I propose: Invoke Xuen.
Now, I’ll explain. When I say “Invoke” I really mean the actual definition of “Invoke” (to petition for help or support) rather than the second definition that is closer to “summon”, which is the one we have. When a Windwalker “invokes” the deity Xuen, it would imbue him or her with the White Tiger’s power, augmenting their abilities, so it would look like this:
Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger – Imbues the player with Xuen’s celestial power for X seconds, adding affects to the Windwalker’s abilities:
- Tiger Palm – Ignores X% of the Target’s Armor. (Old TP/Jab debuff)
- Blackout Kick – Deals an additional X damage over time. (Combat Conditioning)
- Rising Sun Kick – Strikes a second time for X% damage (Glory of the Dawn/Tornado Kicks) OR critical strikes reduce the cooldown of Fists of Fury by X seconds (Tomb of Sargeras tier bonus: Item – Monk T20 Windwalker 4P Bonus)
- Fists of Fury – Deals an additional X damage to each target hit (Open Palm Strikes/Crosswinds) OR When Fists of Fury ends, the critical strike chance of Rising Sun Kick is increased by X% for X sec. (Tomb of Sargeras tier bonus: Item – Monk T20 Windwalker 2P Bonus)
- Spinning Crane Kick – Each target hit by Spinning Crane Kick provides one stack of Thunderfist, increasing the damage of one auto-attack for each stack of Thunderfist. (Artifact talent; Thunderfist)
This would become the baseline, main DPS, cooldown for Windwalkers, and could even give us the look from the Tomb of Sargeras set, or somehow more glowy, during its duration. This would also bring back many of the fan-favorite tools that Windwalker has had in the past and worked well. Blizzard would probably have to slap a “increases all damage by X%” to it in order to make it easier to tune, but I think it would be a significant improvement to the Windwalker’s kit over these abilities separately, without the problems that they both introduce.
Problems: Talent Diversity
This is a problem thats been brought up a bunch of times, but Windwalkers don’t really switch up the last two tiers of talents. For both Legion and Battle for Azeroth, Windwalkers used Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger in all situations till you replaced it with Hit Combo in all situations. In Legion we alternated between Whirling Dragon Punch and Serenity, but in Battle for Azeroth its been Whirling Dragon Punch all the way, minus the few weeks of Serenity when we focused all our damage around Swift Roundhouse. Beyond the problems I’ve already addressed above, Rushing Jade Wind just feels absolutely awful to play with, and the damage isn’t anywhere near worth enough to merit being miserable, and Spiritual Focus is just… bad. So here’s a situation where Windwalker has had three choices in each of the two rows, but has only ever used one thing out of each row and never had any nuance or choice to the situation. I have a few solutions
Lv90 Solution: Azerite Traits
The first solution is one that Blizzard has already started; because when they moved Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger off the Talents, they replaced it with Dance of Chi-Ji. To take this further, Hit Combo could be removed, either with an above suggestion, or just removed entirely, and replaced with Fury of Xuen. This would give us one talent that is mainly AOE-focused, with a little bit of single target damage (Dance of Chi-Ji) and a talent that is mainly single target-focused with a little bit of AOE damage (Fury of Xuen). The last spot could be kept as Rushing Jade Wind reverted to one of its previous states where you toggle it on/off, except this time it would reduce your energy regeneration rather than costing energy, to prevent it from turning itself off. This would serve as the pure-AOE-focused talent. Another option would be for Glory of the Dawn to replace Rushing Jade Wind giving a pure-single target-focused talent to round out that row. If tuned well, which wouldn’t be super hard, it would allow Windwalkers to choose their talent based on their content.
Lv100 Solution: Modify “Invoke Xuen”
So beyond getting rid of Spiritual Focus and adding something else, fixing the problem with Whirling Dragon Punch sometimes not being usable, and Serenity being garbage, my solution to fix this tier builds off of my new idea for “Invoke Xuen” above. It should go without saying, but Whirling Dragon Punch would/should be made baseline and that whole talent row redone. So my idea to compliment my above idea is that each talent would modify the new Invoke Xuen:
- Talent 1 – Increases Invoke Xuen’s duration by X seconds for every Chi spent (or ability that triggers Combo Strikes). (Similar to Drinking Horn Cover, allows for longer duration cooldown and enjoyment)
- Talent 2 – Invoke Xuen’s duration is reduced from X seconds to Y seconds, but you gain an additional charge. (Allows for more frequent burst and flexibility)
- Talent 3 – Invoke Xuen summons an avatar of Xuen to fight beside you for the duration of the buff. (Keeps some flavor of having the tiger fight with you while you look all tiger-ey)
These choices, if balanced well, would give you more agency over HOW you do your damage. Talent 1 would allow for longer sustained burst damage, Talent 2 would allow for shorter, but more frequent damage, and Talent 3 would allow for a middle ground of up time where that cooldown window is more intense and it returns the visual of having Xuen fight beside you, and hopefully his damage would scale with all our stats the right way.
I’d like to think that my solutions are magical, but they’re about as magical as they are original. Most of my ideas are just reusing things that worked before. I’m sure there will also be drawbacks or problems with what I’ve suggested, but it’s my website so I can do what I want.