Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Unraveling the Mistweaver

I'm going to begin looking at the monk specs by checking out the Mistweaver. The healing spec of the Monk class the Mistweaver has a lot of new unique abilities that look like a lot of fun. Bouncing waves of damage/healing around the field, dropping healing orbs, and surrounding allies in a mist that heals those around it and moves each time it heals. All at the same time generating Chi by Jabbing your enemies. So let's explore the Mistweaver.

The Mistweaver is a very different kind of healer than the ones we're used to. The abilities are similar to other classes yet not the exact same. It would seem this is to be unique but familiar at the same time. When you can make comparisons to other spells that exist today it gets a lot easier to tell how one would use that spell. There was only one spell I saw in which you would need to target another player for and that was Soothing Mists, a channeled HoT that could easily be focus macro'd or just mouseover macro'd.

The Spec specific abilities of the Mistweavers are as follows: (as seen on mmo.champion)
  • Chi Wave (LVL 7)
    • 2 Chi, 40 yard range, Instant, 20 sec cooldown
    • Requires Serpent Stance
    • You cause a wave of Chi energy to flow through friend and foe, dealing 3,843 damage or 3,843 healing. Bounces up to 5 times to targets within 10 yards.
    • Notes: I find Chi Wave would be most useful to heal the melee and tanks all confined next to the mobs. No need to change target off Mobs as it will just bounce off them.
  • Stance of the Wise Serpent (LVL 10)
    • Increases healing done by 20%, and replaces your Energy resource to Mana.
    • Any ability which costs Energy will now cost Mana instead.
    • Notes: The passive ability that makes Energy consuming abilities cost Mana instead.
  • Soothing Mists (LVL 18)
    • 200 Mana plus 200 per second, 40 yard range, Channeled
    • Heals the target for 5,144 over 7.33 seconds.
    • If your healing done by Soothing Mists is completely effective, you have a 25% chance to generate 1 Chi.
    • Notes: My thought on this is it should be more of a tank heal to have the best chance at generating 1 Chi if it truly requires that none of the heal be over-healing. It may just mean if you channel the entire spell you get the chance of Chi as well.
  • Internal Medicine (LVL 20)
    • Your detox spell now also clears all Magical effects when used.
  • Jasmine Force Tea (LVL 24)
    • 0 Mana plus 1200 per second, Channeled
    • Requires Serpent Stance
    • You regenerate 1 Chi every 2 seconds for 6 seconds.
    • Notes: This will probably be best used for an "at range" Chi generation as Jab will require melee range to produce Chi. Using this would break the balance in the Mana/Chi cycle and would be way more costly to generate Chi than using Jab, but it is an option.
  • Surging Mist (LVL 34)
    • 1000 Mana, 40 yard range, 1.46 sec Cast
    • Requires Serpent Stance
    • Heals the lowest health friendly target within 40 yards for 12,865.
    • If cast while channeling Soothing Mists, Surging Mist will be instant cast and heal that target over all others.
    • Notes: The last line makes a very obvious combination with Soothing Mists as it makes Surging Mist instant. However that would mean you do not channel the full duration of Soothing Mists and don't get a chance for Chi generation. I'm seeing Surging Mist as the Flash Heal of the Monk toolkit, fast and high health with high cost.
  • Renewing Mist (LVL 42)
    • 400 Mana, 40 yard range, Instant Cast
    • Requires Serpent Stance
    • You surround the target with healing mists, restoring 1,406 health every 0.92 for 10.08 seconds to up to 3 friendly targets within 8 yards.
    • Renewing Mist travels from friendly target to target when it heals, up to $n times.
    • Notes: I haven't found anywhere that has how many times Renewing Mist will move between targets but that doesn't stop it from being a "traveling Holy Radiance" healing an ally and those near them for a tick, and then moving to another person to do the same. 
  • Cherry Mana Tea (LVL 56)
    • Channeled
    • Requires Serpent Stance
    • For each 3 Chi you consume, you gain a charge of Mana Tea.
    • Use Mana Tea to consume the charges. Each charge restores 5% of you maximum mana. Mana Tea must be channeled, lasting 1 second per stack. Mana Tea can stack up to 50 times.
    • Cancelling the channel will not waste stacks.
    • Notes: This is the mana restoration ability of the Mistweaver. This brings balance to the Mana/Chi cycle. It's important to note that if you have 10 stacks, channel for 1 second you get 5% mana, and still have 9 stacks left for later use. Properly managing Cherry Mana Tea and efficient Chi generation (not using Jasmine Force Tea) will be what sets monk healers apart in skill.
  • Uplift (LVL 62)
    • 2 Chi, Instant
    • Requires Serpent Stance
    • Instantly refreshes the duration of all of your Renewing Mist periodic effects on allies, and heals them for 3,304.
    • Notes: Obvious interaction is obvious. You use Uplift to keep Renewing Mist going without spending more mana on it. If you can use the 2 chi about every 10 seconds you can keep Renewing Mist going at an actual net positive of mana when using Cherry Mana Tea charges produced by spending it on Uplift.
  • Thunder Focus Tea (LVL 66)
    • 1 Chi, Instant
    • Requires Serpent Stance
    • You receive a jolt of energy, doubling the healing done by your next Surging Mist or Uplift within 10 seconds.
    • Notes: Spending a Chi on this constantly before every Surging Mist or Uplift would be a huge increase in healing power. What to note however is if you will have that Chi to spend on it every time or not.
  • Summon Jade Serpent Statue (LVL 70)
    • 1200 Mana, 40 yard range, 4.58 sec cast
    • Requires Serpent Stance
    • Summons a Jade Serpent Statue at the target location. Lasts for 15 minutes. Limit 2 Statues. Only two Statues can be active or summoned within a combat session.
      • Eminence (passive)
      • When the Monk deals damage, the summoned Jade Serpent Statues will heal the lowest health nearby target within 20 yards equal to 50% of the damage done.
      • Serpent's Salve (on-click effect)
      • Allies can right-click on the Statue to instantly be healed for 3,786. 10 charges.
      Notes: This is the statue Blizzard previewed very early on when talking about the monks. It has been limited to 2 statues now instead of 3 but will still be very effective as points where the raid can gather, or to put one in melee and one in ranged. As you'll be using Jab and Chi Wave and Expel Harm, this should go off constantly without thought. The click ability also makes these just like Lightwell. This should be no surprise then that it would be the most mana efficient healing available, just like Lightwell is now.
  • Teachings of the Monastery (LVL 72)
    • You become adept in the ways of the Mistweaver, amplifying three of your abilities.
      • Surging Mist
      • When you Jab or Expel Harm, the cast time of your next Surging Mist is reduced by 50%. Stacks up to 2 times. Lasts 12 seconds.
      • Expel Harm
      • Expel Harm no longer has a cooldown.
      • Spinning Crane Kick
      • When you deal damage with Spinning Crane Kick while in Stance of the Wise Serpent, you heal nearby allies equal to 100% of the damage done.
      Notes: Very interesting ability that changes the way the dps abilities interact with your healing abilites. 2 Jabs/Expel Harms make Surging Mist an instant. Expel Harm loses the  15 second cooldown. The Spinning Crane Kick heal seems like a fun one and turns SCK into Divine Storm but with more healing.
  • Revival (LVL 78)
    • 1400 Mana, 40 yard range, Instant Cast, 3 min cooldown
    • Requires Serpent Stance
    • You revive the target's spirit, temporarily resurrecting them for until cancelled with 50% health and mana.
    • Revival does not count towards the combat resurrection limit.
    • Notes: A very interesting ability. It revives party members, but doesn't count towards the rez limit? It also says "temporarily" meaning they may be alive for only a small amount of time but smart use could make this a key clutch ability.
  • Mastery: Gift of the Serpent (LVL 80)
    • You have a 25.5% chance when you heal to summon a Solace Sphere nearby an injured ally.
    • Each point of Mastery increases the chance to summon a Solace Sphere by an additional 3%.
    • Notes: The mastery ability of the Mistweaver leaves out a lot of detail. I can't find anywhere that says what the Solace Sphere does. Heals? Reduces Damage? I'm imagining it's like todays Flame Orb it sits there and shoots out bolts of healing. We'll have to wait and see.
Of course there are general abilities the Mistweaver will also be using. I've cut out the CC and the rez and some utility to get down to the most important ones a healer will be using. Keep in mind that anything that has an energy cost will instead have a mana cost on it:

  • Detox
    • 520 Mana, 40 yard range, Instant Cast, 8 sec cooldown
    • Eliminates ailments from the friendly target, removing all harmful Poison and Bleed effects.
    • Notes: + Magic abilities due to Internal Medicine as a Mistweaver
  • Expel Harm
    • 400 Mana, Melee Range, Instant Cast, 15 sec cooldown
    • Instantly heals the target for 14,896, and causes 120% of the amount healed to instantly be dealt to a nearby enemy as damage within 5 yards of the target.
  • Grapple Weapon
    • 40 yard range, Instant, 1 min cooldown
    • You fire off a rope spear, grappling the target's weapon and shield, returning them to you. Depending on the quality of the weapon, your damage done, healing done, and damage reduction may be increased.
    • Notes: One minute healing cooldown, if you're able to Grapple off the target. I'm not sure if it's entirely a Disarm effect or if it just gives you a buff.
  • Healing Sphere
    • 300 Mana, 40 yard range, 1.37 sec cast
    • You form a Healing Sphere out of a healing mists at the target location for 30 seconds. If allies walk through it, they consume the sphere, healing themselves for 4,928. Maximum of 3 Healing Spheres can be active by the Monk at any given time.
    • Notes: I think this is awesome. I can think of some uses for these like right now in Well of Eternity on Pero'tharn (I can't ever remember his name right). You could lay these down so at the transition to the eye phase party members can run through to help heal up after taking all that damage. You could of course place them on top of people but I think best use would be to set them up somewhere. (Collapsing for seed explosion on Ragnaros, around the Crystals on Morchok so people blow up and land in them, etc.)
  • Jab
    • 40 Energy, Melee Range, Instant
    • You Jab the target, dealing 139 damage and generating 1 Chi.
    • Notes: Main source of Chi generation.
  • Meditation
    • Channeled, 3 min cooldown
    • Reduces all damage taken by 99% and redirects to you all harmful spells cast against your allies within 30 yards. Lasts 10 seconds.
    • Being the victim of a melee attack will break your Meditation, cancelling the effect.
    • Notes: Huge, huge raid cooldown. Of course it specifically states "harmful SPELLS" we could see some great use for this. Yor'Sahj comes to mind immediately when there's no black ooze. The pulsing AE fire damage of Amalgamations at 9 stacks. The increasing raid damage as you kill Arms/Wings on Madness of Deathwing.
  • Spinning Crane Kick
    • 1 Chi, Instant
    • Requires Serpent Stance, Ox Stance, Tiger Stance
    • You spin while kicking in the air, dealing 218 Physical damage every 1 second to all nearby enemies within 8 yards. Movement speed is reduced by 30%. Lasts 6 seconds.
    • Notes: As said above turns into a Divine Storm like ability. Probably won't need to use this much until after level 72 when it starts healing but could be spent helping deal AE damage to trash even before then.
Now as you read over the abilities you can start to piece together how they would be used. You have abilities that use mana, abilities that use chi, abilities that generate chi, and then Cherry Mana Tea which charges up based on spending chi to restore mana. So you get this high sense of balance. Spend mana to generate chi, to spend chi to build up Cherry Mana Tea, to use Cherry Mana Tea to restore mana, all while also keeping people alive.

The abilities that are going to spend our mana are (some of these will also generate chi):
  • Detox
  • Jasmine Force Tea (generates Chi as channeled, up to 3)
  • Renewing Mists
  • Soothing Mists (generates 1 Chi if heal is completely effective with 25% chance)
  • Summoning our Serpent Statues
  • Revival
  • Surging Mists
  • Jab (generates 1 Chi)
  • Healing Sphere
  • Expel Harm
The abilities that will spend Chi are:
  • Chi Wave
  • Thunder Focus Tea
  • Uplift
  • Spinning Crane Kick
It will be very important to spend the Chi you build up to keep building stacks of Cherry Mana Tea to not run yourself out of mana with no way to regen.

Some of the combinations really stand out like bold print. Soothing Mists into Surging Mist to make it instant. Using Uplift to keep Renewing Mists flowing without spending mana to cast it again, or to even keep multiple Renewing Mists floating around the group.

Raid healing looks like it comes together using the combination of Renewing Mists with Uplift. As long as you Uplift you can keep as many instances of Renewing Mists moving around the raid team as possible. Also raid healing will simply happen just by Jabbing through the Jade Serpent Statue, casting Chi Wave will be another staple of Raid healing. Surging Mists will always be there to heal that very low target, without turning your attention away from the boss.

Tank healing I feel is going to be a pretty simple combination of Soothing Mists (as it requires a target, but just focus macro it), with instant Surging Mists to prop up from big hits. Expel Harm will also play a nice role here as it will heal the tank and damage the boss triggering the Jade Serpent Statue effect. While Chi Wave does bounce and heal multiple targets there's no reason not to start a Chi Wave on the tank, helping take care of melee and potentially dealing damage to the boss as well.

The last thing to look at with the Mistweaver will be with what talents might interact the best with healing.
The level 15 talents are all movement talents based on Roll. Now I saw nothing about a "heal by rolling through allies" ability as they described possible before so this will simply be to help you get around. Making Roll cost no mana seems like it would be the best in general.
Level 30 talents are hard to tell as well. There's one talent not yet release that competes for increasing max Chi by 1, and one that restores all your Chi. As we'll get the most mana regen by spending Chi as much as possible I'm not sure Ascendance (+1 Chi) would generally be the best. Pointing to Jin'yu Cider (the 1.5m restore all Chi) unless the 3rd talent is something really stunning to keep up.
Level 45 talents are about control through stuns. The choice here won't have an impact on healing performance but will definitely be a choice on your liking.
Level 60 talents include 2 that snare enemies, one by taking damage, one on a 1 minute cooldown. The third talent is a 45 second cooldown that's channeled, that lets you avoid all damage for 3 seconds.
Level 75 is definitely one of the most interesting tiers. Chi Bind creates a line between you and your statues, anything passing through will be healed/damaged. The second, Chi Serpent, is like Flame Orb is now, only doing both damage and healing depending on what it hits, that you can also explode for a burst of healing/damage and snares mobs and accelerates allies. The last, Chi Torpedo, will shoot straight out in front of you, dealing damage to enemies and healing to allies in its way.
Level 90 has different damage prevention talents. Ring of Peace makes all enemies within it unable to act. Rushing Jade Wind is a moving tornado that makes anything in it unable to take damage or healing and travels through enemies and allies alike in front of you. Chi Cocoon encases an ally or enemy within, making it unable to act and immune to damage healing except that caused by Chi Cocoon itself as the effect deals damage to enemies and healing to allies.

In the end, the Mistweaver looks like an incredibly fun healing spec, with diverse and unique abilities while still having a full toolkit of utility, raid healing and tank healing potential. I'm really excited to try something that appears to be so very fun with the possibility of proper strategy to execute to the fullest. If there's anything I missed or if you have any questions/comments, be sure to let me know!

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