Today we got some news that on the current PTR, Spinning Crane Kick is currently “uncapped” and has diminishing returns beyond 5 targets, in addition to Mark of the Crane now being capped at 5 targets instead of 6. This is in addition to Fists of Fury also being “uncapped” and diminishing after 5 targets. So lets talk about what that means.


“Uncapped” AOE

Currently, after 6 targets, both Fists of Fury and Spinning Crane Kick cease to deal extra damage. The changes in 9.1 remove that hard cap and replaced it with a soft cap and diminishing returns. This means that a Spinning Crane Kick does 100% of it’s damage to one target, 200% to two targets, 300% to three targets, all the way up to 600% to six targets. Fists of Fury, on the other hand, dealt 100% damage to your primary target and 70% damage to each additional targets. So 100% to one target, 170% to two, and so on, up to 450% to 6 targets.

Now, with these changes, things use a formula that’s referred to as “square root scaling”. This means that once you are past 5 targets, it switches to this formula:Square Root(cap #/# of targets). ("sqrt" for short)

Thus, if you have 10 targets, then it looks like this sqrt(5/10) = 70.7% to each target. This continues up to the hard cap of 20 targets. So, an ability like Spinning Crane Kick would do sqrt(5/20) = 50% to each target for a total of 1000% damage compared to currently that it would do 600% damage. For Fists of Fury that amount is just 100% to the primary target then half of the square root amount to the other targets.

The other notable change that was listed, is that Mark of the Crane is now capped at 5 stacks, but increased from 15% per stack to 18% per stack.

If you are interested in looking at the math and numbers for the changes, you can check out my spreadsheet with a handy chart.


What It Means

As can easily be predicted, this results in quite a lot more damage potential. However, it does result in a small damage loss as well depending on the targets. So this is what it means:

  • Fists of Fury
    • Same damage on 1 to 5 targets
    • Less damage at 6 targets
    • Roughly equal at 7 targets
    • More damage at 8 and higher
  • Spinning Crane Kick
    • Same damage on 1 to 5 targets
    • Less damage from 6 to 8 targets
    • More damage at 9 and higher
  • Spinning Crane Kick + Mark of the Crane
    • More damage on 1 to 5 targets
    • Less damage at 6 and 7 targets
    • More damage at 8 and higher
  • Calculated Strikes increases the gap at 6 or more, increasing the number of targets needed before the new way does more damage than the old. This is due to having one less stack.

The grand lesson of this is that Windwalker AOE, which is already, not-too-arguably, the best in the game, is going to get even better. And with Mark of the Crane capping at 5 targets, it will be easier to reach and maintain.

Ultimately, it all but seals the deal for Windwalker AOE getting nerfed in some way, either through changing the Attack Power values of Spinning Crane Kick, the benefit of Mark of the Crane, or most likely the benefit of Calculated Strikes and Dance of Chi-Ji which are the biggest contributors to how ridiculously good Windwalker is right now in AOE, and will continue to scale well as we go through the expansion.

The most important question, that we’ll have to wait a few weeks or months to see, is whether or not that (totally justified) nerf to AOE comes with a (much needed) buff to single target damage. Only time will tell, and how much these changes affect other classes will need a ton of time to see the big picture, but these changes should be beneficial for the health of the game and make things easier going forward, which is always a good thing, even if it does guarantee that Windwalker will see some nerfs. Windwalker has a RIDICULOUS amount of room before nerfs will take us from where we are to even “just good” in AOE situations.

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