Here are the upcoming changes that may happen in the next major patch, 5.1. These are subject to change. There’s also a chance some of these are errors in datamining, but I hope not because I think most of them are good.
Possibly Significant Changes
The Power Strikes talent now grants the Power Strikes effect every 20 seconds, which causes the Monk’s next attack to generate 1 additional Chi.
The number has changed from 20 to 22 to 20 in the last few weeks, so it’s likely going to be the subject of more change before we’re done. It is currently a 20 cooldown on the live game, but the major change will be a buff “Power Strikes”, making it easier for us to track when that extra Chi will be generated.
Ascension now also increases your maximum mana by 15%, and your energy regen by 15%.
Currently Ascension only increases our maximum Chi to 5, which does nothing for our actual output so very few monks take this talent. However, these changes, which are in addition to the increased pool, do a great deal to increase its attractiveness.
If I were designing these talents, I would have Power Strikes grant the most Chi, but it should be followed closely by Chi Brew and then Ascension. The weakness of Power Strikes is that it’s not easily controllable and that extra Chi might come at a time you don’t need it. Chi Brew has the bonus of providing Chi exactly when you need it, but requires you to empty your chi pool before activating the skill for optimal Chi gain. Ascension has the benefit of increasing your chi pool size, giving you greater opportunity to save chi for dangerous situations, plus giving you a decent energy gain, which will provide slightly more control over your chi generation than Power Strikes and less control compared to Chi Brew. And at that point, it would be more-or-less up to the player and their play style that decides the talent.
Right now, it sort of looks like the above might be the case, though I haven’t done the math myself, and with the constant changes to the cooldown of Power Strikes it’s hard to say. I’ll probably be going with Ascension because I really enjoy having a larger chi pool.
Survival Instincts is once again granted to Brewmaster Monks and now costs 2 Chi to use.
Early after MoP came out, all tanks lost their Symbiosis bonuses and temporarily gained their damage dealer counterpart’s spell instead. The tank spells were borderline overpowered, and it was nearly required for druids to use Symbiosis on tanks because free cooldowns are just that big of a deal.
Now we will get those defensive skills back, but with a cost attached to them. For Brewmasters, we get a neutered version of Survival Instincts that gives us 25% damage reduction over 6 seconds for 2 Chi. When you compare it to our staple active mitigation of Shuffle, it has the same duration and cost for slightly more damage reduction and no avoidance. It will be useful situationally, which is probably ideal.
Dampen Harm now requires attacks to deal damage equal to 20% or more of your total health, up from 10%.
I’m really split on this change because depending on the boss, Dampen Harm in its live state can get consumed in just a few seconds or it can last its entire duration of 45 seconds without getting consumed at all. This change requires us tanks to get hit for around 100k (at current health levels) which is a lot, though a handful of bosses do hit for that much.
The Healing Elixirs talent now grants the Healing Elixirs effect every 18 seconds, which causes the next Brew or Tea consumed to heal the Monk for 10% of maximum health.
This is a nerf from every 15 seconds to every 18. I’m not sure why it deserved a nerf, because it’s a skill I only took if a fight didn’t have scary large melee or magic damage, but it doesn’t effect brewmasters that much because we just don’t pick this talent that often.
Quality of Life Changes
Tiger Palm bonus now increases the amount of your next Guard by 15%, up from 5%. The Tiger Power provided by Tiger Palm now reduces target armor by 30% with a single application and no longer stacks.
Currently, we have to use Tiger Palm three times to stack the dps and Guard buffs, and this change brings that down to a single use of Tiger Palm. This shouldn’t really change anything in your rotation, since Tiger Palm is our filler and we use it all the time anyway. The final effect of the tiger palm buffs does not change: it will still give us a maximum of 30% armor piercing and 15% guard increase, but we won’t have to babysit quite so much.
The energy costs of Legacy of the Emperor, and Legacy of the White Tiger have been reduced to 20, down from 50.
This is just nice because I really struggle with rebuffing battle rezzed raid members. Especially as a windwalker, where I have to sit there for around 10 seconds to regenerate enough energy to rebuff.
Stance of the Fierce Tiger now increases the Monk’s movement speed by 10% in addition to its other effects. This movement speed increase stacks with other effects.
We brewmasters don’t use this stance very much because we can’t use our key skills outside of Ox Stance, but now you can use it while running back after dying!
The energy cost of Healing Sphere has been reduced to 40, down from 60. The healing provided by the Healing Sphere base spell has been increased by 20%.
I don’t use this skill except to heal myself while soloing, but these are nice changes.
The healing provided by Chi Burst, Chi Wave, and the detonation of Zen Sphere has been reduced by 25%.
We don’t use these skills a whole lot, but 25% is a pretty significant nerf. The healing talents still should only be used when your active mitigation is in a good place and your health is stable, but now they provide even less healing. Admittedly, a well positioned Chi Burst and a well timed Chi Wave could deliver impressive amounts of raid healing for a tank, but they were used so rarely that it never made that huge of a difference.
Chi Burst now does Nature damage. Chi Torpedo now does Nature damage. Chi Wave now does Nature damage. Expel Harm now does Nature damage.
These skills have always dealt nature damage.
Keg Smash had a wording change to “targets”, rather than “the target”.
Keg Smash has always applied its effect to multiple targets.
I’m on my way out of the country for vacation at the moment, so I may be slow responding to emails / comments. I’ll still try, if I’m not too busy doing tourist things.
Finally, Full Spectrum decided to drop their second group, leaving a lot of us without guilds. I’ll be keeping an eye out for recruiting guilds while I’m on vacation, and then start to look full time once I return. If anyone knows of any tank openings that arise, please let me know. My one requirement is that they clear content fast enough that my tanking guides can be released at a reasonable time. I also know of a very good prot paladin and a handful of damage dealers who are still looking, and I’d appreciate any communication to get my former group-mates a guild as well.