Windwalker feels unslottable in ToT heroics

90 Pandaren Monk
16680
Overall, despite a number of improvements to the way the spec plays (mainly the TEB change which is a very good one), Windwalker feels significantly worse than it did in 5.0/5.1 raiding in terms of actual value to a heroic raid group. This is partly due to the nature of the fights (more multitarget fights where passive cleave/aoe is incredibly valuable), and partly due to some issues with the spec and changes made to it recently. SEF for example is really hard to functionally use in a raid environment compared to other cleave/aoe abilities because of the ramp-up, how easy it is to put the spirit on the wrong target, the difficulty of changing targets etc. It should be off the GCD to make applying the spirits to a new target easier, and the ramp-up animation should be faster too. It also significantly reduces your single target dps, something that other classes don't have to do to add additional damage to secondary targets.

On a fight like Council, where you need to DPS a high priority target while doing secondary damage to other targets, most other specs have a much easier time making a contribution. Not all of course (ret paladins also have weak cleave for example), but SEF certainly didn't solve this acknowledged Windwalker issue from 5.0. You can throw your SEF on a secondary target, reducing your single target DPS significantly for a moderate gain overall, or on a third target for more of the same, or you can AoE and have no control over what you hit. By comparison, most specs can prioritise damage on a single target and cleave/dot others or AoE as they see fit, making them much more flexible and a much more desirable member of the raid.

As I acknowledged though, there are other specs with similar weaknesses, so more importantly I think Windwalker needs some sort of useful raid utility to balance out its weaknesses as a DPS spec and make it viable on fights where it isn't an exceptional choice for DPS alone. This is something that the spec has needed since MoP beta, frankly, and still hasn't been addressed in any way. Warriors, paladins, druids, shamans, rogues and death knights all bring some kind of unique utility to the raid, usually in the form of offensive or defensive raid CDs, and some more than others. Rogues got smoke bomb as a raid CD this tier for example, something that would have been a wonderful addition to Windwalker monks.

WW monks can't off-heal effectively or passively contribute to healing, can't buff raid DPS or reduce incoming damage on the raid in any way, and don't have special abilities that contribute to the raid or simplify strats in any meaningful way along the lines of paladin "Hand" abilities, Gorefiend's Grasp, Stampeding Roar etc with the possible exception of damage soaking via DM/Zen Med. The fact that Diffuse Magic works on some abilities this tier is nice, like the debuffs on heroic Jin'rokh and heroic Durumu, but that's not really sufficient to justify a raid spot.

When you add this lack of comparable utility to the fact that WW dps is pretty low in present gear, they just aren't worth a raid spot on most fights or even a roster position in a heroic guild. Given equal gear/skill, a Windwalker monk will be near the bottom of the meter on most heroic bosses I've seen so far this tier. They have decent single target and decent burst aoe, making them okay for fights like Megaera or Tortos (though by no means exceptional), but weak multitarget and weak damage flexibility, leaving them languishing at the bottom on other fights. For a spec that brings nothing to the table other than damage, this just isn't enough to justify slotting one. In 5.0/5.1 raiding, WW wasn't exactly a top tier spec, but it definitely made a contribution. Windwalker in 5.1 had excellent single target sustained DPS as long as the fight didn't rely on a burn phase, strong non-CD oriented burst for things like Elegon sparks or Tsulong day phase adds, and good AoE for a Sha type fight. By comparison this tier, the "strengths" of the spec are much harder to find, making the lack of raid utility a more glaring issue.

I'm presently raiding on my warrior alt that is 10 ilvls lower than my monk because the spec simply does more damage in equal gear on most fights, it's DPS is more flexible, and the damage bonus brought by a warrior's offensive utility (skull banner and shatter) outweighs whatever my monk might bring to the table due to gear, and the defensive utility with demo banner and rallying cry pushes it clearly over the edge. I'd prefer this wasn't the case, as I like playing Windwalker a lot, but it simply is, and I know that I'm doing the raid group a disservice by playing my monk. At the very least, I'd love to see the spec get a bit of love in terms of utility so there was a reason to bring a Windwalker even on fights where their damage isn't exceptional.
Edited by Gondlem on 3/17/2013 5:58 AM PDT
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90 Human Monk
5500
Haven't got to heroics yet, but even from doing normals I can understand everything said here. I experience it, albeit to a lesser extent, in normals thus far.

Definitely a longer ramp up time for our dps, gotta work even harder than ever to achieve pre-patch dps and be really on point to stay steadily above that. Should bump Tiger stance up 5% at least...10% off the rip is a bit much.

I mean you can toss mages +40% after 1 week of data, I don't see why you wouldn't be able to toss monks +5% after 2 weeks.
Edited by Seanprice on 3/17/2013 10:26 AM PDT
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90 Human Warrior
15615
WW Monks definitely feel much weaker than they were prior to the patch, even with the changes made the TEB. Some form to utility would definitely be great for them as well.
Edited by Xonkjr on 3/17/2013 6:25 PM PDT
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Completely agree.
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90 Human Monk
5855
I gotta think they're so hung up on the whole DK thing that they're afraid to make monks too attractive.

It's the only way I can explain the unmatched ramp-up time, the lack of proper DPS CDs outside a talent, the mediocre raid (de)buff contribution, the mage-like situational raid utility (which pretty much boils down to what you can do with DM/ZM), lack of actual cleaving capabilities seemingly remaining a non-issue all the way to 6.0, Fists of Fury...

It's a fun spec to play, but I'd feel holding my raid back. Actually, I can't even imagine why a 10-man would have a WW that's not a BM on their offspec.
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90 Human Warlock
12725
Well said.
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90 Pandaren Monk
4050
Justicemonk approves this thread.
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90 Draenei Shaman
4790
I don't really think it's a utility issue. WW is just tuned too low. If the tiger stance nerf was partially reverted to 15%, WW would be in a much better place.

http://raidbots.com/dpsbot/Spec_Score/10N/all/7/30/default/
http://raidbots.com/dpsbot/Spec_Score/25N/all/7/30/default/
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90 Pandaren Monk
16680
The lack of utility exacerbates the problem. It's possible for a class with little to no utility to be viable, but their damage has to be pretty high on a specific encounter to make that work. On the other hand, a spec with relatively low dps for a specific encounter (no fight is Patchwerk, and DPS rankings vary dramatically fight to fight during progression) might well be worth a raid spot because of the other things they bring to a raid. To pick a random example, Ret paladins aren't that good on Durumu but we brought one because Hand of Purity and Devotion Aura are really useful.

Or to give a more relevant one, my warrior does less damage than my monk because my monk has more gear, but my warrior is a much better choice for the raid because of skull banner, shattering throw, rallying cry and demo banner. Both in terms of a literal comparison of how much damage we do to a boss when the warrior is in vs the monk and more subjectively in terms of what assistance I can provide in dealing with fight mechanics.

In that raidbots link you provide ele shamans are low, but they provide stormlash which alone makes up for the DPS difference and they also bring healing tide totem. And they're also more or less the best AoE spec in the game right now, giving them a relevant niche that guarantees them a roster spot. So no, it's not just about damage tuning.
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90 Troll Shaman
10110
I agree with you. I really think that WW needs a niche, especially over classes they are directly competing with for raid spots (rogues and ferals).

Rogues at the moment can do everything a WW can do but better. Gondlem mentioned Zen Med/Diffuse Magic, but the rogue has the same ability to soak and absorb debuffs through Cloak and Cheat death, while bringing much more DPS and much more raid utility (smoke bomb).

Elemental is also low as I've often posted here, but I do feel like Elemental brings a niche, especially with the 2pc, with absolutely insane damage on stacked cleave. This means that there are some fights that Elemental is absolutely the optimal choice, and thus a raid group will bring an Ele along even though they might be suboptimal for other fights in order to gear them up.

I personally see no reason to gear up a WW over a Feral, much less a Rogue.

Edit: I'm also not saying Ele is fine - However, as a member of a spec that's severely underperforming as well, I sympathize with what you are dealing with. Ele probably needs buffs in the "in 2 weeks" type of priority, while WW probably needs buffs in the "Mage hotfix without any real data" territory.
Edited by Azloran on 3/18/2013 9:16 AM PDT
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90 Draenei Shaman
4790
Lets not bring other classes into it. Stormlash does not make up for that DPS disparity. Those raidbots graphs include all current boss encounters, which takes the spec's cleave into account. Elemental deserves buffs too.

Your warrior will catch up on gear and then greatly outperform your monk. The utility he brings is definitely part of the equation when picking raid slots, but there's no point talking about utility when there's such a large performance gap.
Edited by Slant on 3/18/2013 8:56 AM PDT
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There are several specs hurting but I have to say that if I had to choose any one for immediate attention, WW would be it. In all other cases other options are available for the classes in question. WW is the only game in town for monks so far as dps goes and no matter how you slice the data, it's doing badly.
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90 Draenei Shaman
4790
Well they should all be fixed but you're right, only 3 classes have only 1 DPS spec, and shadow and ret are much higher.
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90 Human Paladin
12370
don't take away our token brown guy
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90 Worgen Mage
12055

I mean you can toss mages +40% after 1 week of data, I don't see why you wouldn't be able to toss monks +5% after 2 weeks.


Try not to be too dramatic. +40% to a spell that makes up about 11%ish of our total damage single target as fire. This makes it a 4%ish increase in damage. In reality, though, it is a bit higher than that.

OT: I agree with everything Gondlem has said. No reason to bring sub par DPS with no utility.
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90 Pandaren Monk
16680
03/18/2013 08:53 AMPosted by Slant
Lets not bring other classes into it. Stormlash does not make up for that DPS disparity. Those raidbots graphs include all current boss encounters, which takes the spec's cleave into account. Elemental deserves buffs too.


I know I probably see class balance in a slightly different light to most players as a heroic raider, and I really don't want to derail this too much, but elemental is actually extremely strong. Ele AoE is the best in the game (on heroic Durumu, an AoE fight, our ele did about 7% of the damage done on the kill, next highest DPS did 6.02% - that's 210k dps to 184k, a huge gap). Their single target isn't anything special I suppose but there's very few single target fights this tier and you'll be hard pressed to find any guild that doesn't want to bring an ele under current conditions once you factor in their utility. I doubt ele is getting buffed without a nerf to chain lightning to compensate.

Really though, the point I'd like to address is that offensive raid utility like Stormlash and Skull Banner does outweigh small variations in single target damage. For example, on the last boss I killed, my warrior added around 200k raid dps during heroism consistently pull to pull compared to my monk. That's 8 million damage, and obviously the vast majority of it came from those raid-wide buffs. Even assuming my monk did more dps over the entire rest of a 10 minute fight and I never used Skull Banner or Shattering again, in order to make up 8 million damage in 9 minutes and 20 seconds, the monk would have to do 14.2k DPS more than the warrior. In reality the difference is less than that, and you get to use three more crit banners and another shattering, and you can throw in the incredible defensive cooldowns a warrior brings as well. That's the big issue here that is simply highlighted by WW's relatively weak damage.

Most players dramatically underestimate the importance of these sorts of abilities, but as a rule they significantly outweigh small variations in DPS. On the same kill, Stormlash made up 1.78% of raid damage for our raid, with four shamans, so each shaman's lash was around 0.45%. Doesn't sound like much right? On a fight with 1.81 billion damage dealt that's 8 million damage again, or 13.44k DPS over a 10 minute fight. Now our ele shaman was already #1 on this boss because it has AoE, but look at that raidbots link and add 13.44k DPS to the ele (and enhance) shaman and you'll see what I'm saying.

Anyway this isn't about ele shaman, I'm just trying to illustrate just how influential these abilities are. And we're not even quantifying things like rallying cry and healing stream totem here. If there's going to be a DPS spec in the game that brings very little to nothing to the table aside from DPS, be it directly measurable offensive cooldowns, intangible abilities or defensive CDs that save the raid, they need to be strictly competitive with other classes on different kinds of fights or they're just not worth having, end of story.
Edited by Gondlem on 3/18/2013 3:39 PM PDT
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90 Draenei Shaman
4790
03/18/2013 03:39 PMPosted by Gondlem
I know I probably see class balance in a slightly different light to most players as a heroic raider, and I really don't want to derail this too much, but elemental is actually extremely strong.

That's very possible. There's basically zero data on heroic modes in raidbots at this time, so there's just no way to prove it either way. Even Jin'Rokh has under 10 samples per spec-- and we really need over 1000.

http://www.raidbots.com/dpsbot/Jin%27rokh_the_Breaker/25H/all/7/30/samples/
http://www.raidbots.com/dpsbot/Jin%27rokh_the_Breaker/10H/all/7/30/samples/

We can prove that Elemental is just plain terrible in normal modes, though. I can't see how gearing up and moving to heroics would jump Elemental from literally dead last to top-tier, but like I said earlier, I can't prove it either way.
Edited by Slant on 3/18/2013 3:47 PM PDT
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90 Pandaren Monk
16680
None of that changes the fact that stormlash makes up for the dps discrepancy, as I explained. Even if Windwalkers did more DPS, they still wouldn't be much good. The DPS issues just make a problem that already existed worse.
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90 Draenei Mage
10355

That's very possible. There's basically zero data on heroic modes in raidbots at this time, so there's just no way to prove it either way. Even Jin'Rokh has under 10 samples per spec-- and we really need over 1000.

We can prove that Elemental is just plain terrible in normal modes, though. I can't see how gearing up and moving to heroics would jump Elemental from literally dead last to top-tier, but like I said earlier, I can't prove it either way.
While we can't prove what specs are performing well on progression, it's telling that a player in a top 10 world guild is saying Ele is not only viable but has a serious niche, while WW doesn't seem worthwhile. He may not objectively have as much information as we'd like, but he is seeing the heroic content with some of the better players in the world. Midwinter and other such guilds probably have the best understanding of what is and isn't working in T15H content, especially while new to the instance. That's not to say that his scope is all that matters-but it is what the topic is about, viability in heroic progression. More specifically WW's viability.

Regardless, the point isn't really about how ele's DPS is, if their utility is enough to make them viable, etc. it's about the fact that top guilds aren't interested in WW because they don't bring anything aside from their DPS. And it's true, they don't. Gondolem's provided the numbers to account for why Fury helps his raid more than WW, even if a WW monk is out gearing/performing the Fury Warrior, and his points are completely valid. WW needs some form of utility in order to be a strong choice at the top end.
Edited by Rhaenir on 3/18/2013 6:44 PM PDT
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90 Draenei Shaman
4790
None of that changes the fact that stormlash makes up for the dps discrepancy, as I explained. Even if Windwalkers did more DPS, they still wouldn't be much good. The DPS issues just make a problem that already existed worse.

If your ~13k DPS number is really representative for Stormlash, you make a very strong point. I had no idea it was so strong. Of course that only really applies to 25man raiding; it would only deal 5k DPS in 10m since you have 39% as many people attacking the boss.

Being balanced around a raidwide DPS cooldown isn't great, particularly when it's much worse in 10m than 25m. Base performance should be balanced first. Bring WW up to parity on base performance, then evaluate if their lack of unique utility is holding them back.
Edited by Slant on 3/18/2013 8:02 PM PDT
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