It is somewhat apropos that as I write this article, I am drinking a nice beer. Yes, I’m talking about Dwarves, our miniature beer swilling buddies. Unlike previous articles, where we’ve talked about healing or how to make a great UI, this time: “I Know Kung-Fu”.
In Mists of Pandaria along with a new race, the Pandarens, we have a brand new class: The Monk. Like Druids and Paladins, the Monks have a spec for DPS, Tanking and Healing. In that respect, as a hybrid class, the Monk is not treading any new ground. However, the Monk brings new mechanics to the game that are an appealing new twist to how the character is played. Though many people will likely create a Panda Monk, I believe the Dwarf is the penultimate character race for the new Monk class…. Look at it this way. Dwarves like drinking, and are very capable with their fists. Granted, their kicks may only reach the mid-section of other -taller-races, that in and of itself, is a bonus. Leveling a Dwarven monk once Mists of Pandaria goes live will be one of my top priorities. To that end, I wanted to get a feel for the class during the beta so I could make a more informed decision once Mists is released.
Leveling around Iron Forge as a Monk is somewhat different than I was expecting. In the first few levels, you have only a few abilities available to kill the various mobs that inhabit Coldridge Valley. At this point in your progression Jab is your primary talent. Jab does a small amount of damage and also generates Chi, your critical resource for future abilities. It also consumes “Energy” which is your primary resource. As you use your abilities and attack your target you build up and use Chi for greater and more damaging attacks. You can’t ignore your energy, of course, because without it you are unable to generate more chi.
The first level or two as I mentioned earlier you only have your “Jab” capability. Granted, it doesn’t take much to get from level 1 to level 3, but without anything to really expend Chi on, it doesn’t feel as smooth as it should. At level 3 you finally gain your first ability to use Chi: Tiger Palm. NOW we’re talking. With the Tiger Palm ability, you are able to start taking down mobs quite quickly. Tiger Palm damages the target for some amount, dependent upon your level, plus an additional amount if the target is over 50%.
That’s it. No more abilities are added until level 7, when you get Blackout kick (an attack that is tuned to work with Tiger Palm, as it’s only available when your target is at 35% or lower in health). Essentially, the monk doesn’t feel like a complete class until you get blackout kick. You can hit, you can roll (a nice ability, btw)…but that’s about it. Once you hit level 7 you can punch and kick with the best of ‘em. At that point, the leveling begins to be more interesting and you begin to feel…well, like a hero.
At level 7-10 you begin to see glimpses of what the Monk’s priority/rotation is going to be at end game. My initial impression is that it will be halfway between a rogue (and their combo points) and a death knight (with runes). Since you only have 4 Chi slots, the key will be rapidly building up to your full Chi and then expending it WISELY.
Wrap It Up, I’ll Take It!
The Monk class will be an interesting new experience within the game. A new hybrid with DPS, Tanking and Healing ability and a new mechanic with which to initiate all sorts of finishing moves. The Monk feels familiar, but at the same time, very, very different.
- A New Resource: Chi. Chi is somewhat like the Death Knights rune system, but unlike the DK’s runes, Chi doesn’t seem to dissapate over time. Once you build it up, you can save it for heavy hits at the beginning of the next fight. The finishing moves that use Chi are unique and as far as I can tell right now, effective.
- I like how smoothly the animations move from empty hand attacks (jab) to new attacks as you gain various weapons (jab becomes sever once you have weapons in your hands). It feels natural.
- Early leveling (from 1-7) feels incomplete from the perspective of power. Up until level 7, you can basically smack things with your hands. At level 7, you can finally use your feet. Based on my experience, I would argue that Monks should get some sort of kicking attack earlier in leveling.
It’s still early in my leveling of my Dwarven monk, but it’s proving to be interesting.. Leveling on the older Cataclysm starting areas is not as smooth or as “peaceful” as leveling a Pandarian Monk, but it is proving to be interesting. Stick with me as I continue to examine the early levels of Dwarven Monk Leveling.