As the game grows older, we see fewer and fewer maintenance buffs. That is, buffs that are expected to be active most of the time. In the case of the maintenance buffs that have disappeared over the years, most of them added little gameplay by themselves. Shuffle doesn’t meet the strictest definition of the term, since it plays into our resource management, but it is something vital that any brewmaster should be able to, and will be expected to, keep active almost all the time.
Right now, Shuffle / Blackout Kick is the default thing to spend chi on. It’s our most important active mitigation tool, and it’s our easiest to maintain. You will start a fight with activating Shuffle, spend most of the fight Blackout Kicking, and end the fight with a 2 minute duration. Could shuffle management be more interesting on it’s own? Does it need to be more interesting?
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What makes a great talent tier? How much can a tier vary, and how little can a tier vary, for it to remain interesting? Is a tier that’s rarely changed okay, if all options are still viable?
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Barrier to entry
At first glance, talents are pretty easy to use. They require a cheap reagent and moving buttons around or a macro. However, I still see lots of resistance to changing talents for every fight. The best part of talents is changing them around for unique circumstances, and there should be little to no barrier of entry to encourage that. The number of times that, at the suggestion of changing a talent for a particular fight, people have reacted in surprise, often with a “well, I just always run with Rushing Jade Wind”, is enough to convince me this is a problem.
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Our final tier of talents specialized in AoE damage, specifically the magnitude and frequency of that AoE damage. In the beginning of the expansion, Rushing Jade Wind was an entirely different talent. It was an aimed AoE burst skill that also increased the damage of Spinning Crane Kick. While not a useless skill, it was very situational, and given the absolutely uselessness of Chi Torpedo for non-healers, we were given a more competitive choice in the form of today’s sustained AoE RJW.
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Level 75 talents provided defensive skills of varying situational utility. Diffuse Magic was the most situational and most powerful, reducing magic damage by 90% for a brief 6 seconds. Dampen Harm was moderately situational, reducing all damage by 50% but requiring a high number to trigger and only reducing 3 hits. Healing Elixirs was the most general, useful in all fights but not nearly as powerful. Of the three, Healing Elixirs was the only one to see significant change throughout the expansion. Initially, it simply tied a nice heal to our brew skills (Purifying, Elusive). It wasn’t very popular early on (though I still found it useful ), but once it added a low health trigger and prevented healing at full health, I think it gained some favor.
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Level 60 talents originally focused on crowd control, with Leg Sweep, the one with the shortest cooldown, longest effect, and AoE capabilities, being the clear winner. Ring of Peace didn’t exist until a later patch, and the original talent turned Paralyze from a melee ability to a ranged one. That talent has since been folded into the default Paralyze utility. Charging Ox Wave’s only change was a drastic reduction in cooldown, making it shorter than Leg Sweep.
In the modern times of late Mists, we now have three competitive, though highly situational, talents. One for frequent/ranged stuns, one for disarm/silence, and one for longer duration stuns.
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This talent tier dealt with chi generation, either through granting chi directly (through a clickable skill or a timed proc), or indirectly through energy regeneration. Early in the expansion, Power Strikes was the only viable choice, since Ascension only increased maximum chi, and Chi Brew was a simple cooldown that provided an awkward 4 chi on use. Now that Ascension also increases energy regeneration and Chi Brew is a two-charge cooldown that provides Elusive Brew, they have finally established their own niches.
Continue reading “Mists Retrospective: Level 45 Talents”
The level 30 talents focus on healing, specifically multi-person healing and damage. This tier was largely ignored by Brewmasters until Throne of Thunder, where the chi costs were removed and they became free to use. With that simple change, they went from unimportant to absolutely vital to our personal survival strategies.
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The level 15 talents focus on movement, akin to the “charge” tiers of warriors and druids. Most high end brewmasters take Tiger’s Lust, though at the beginning of the expansion that was the least popular talent due to a chi cost. However, Celerity and Momentum aren’t bad choices, either.
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