Blizzard has announced another change to this. I hope to have a post up about it this weekend when I have time:
A Message to the Readers:
There has been an enormous amount of hatred toward these recent changes and really any change at all, without anyone actually being able to test it. From my perspective, those who are spouting the vitriol on forums like MMOC or the Official Monk and Feedback forums, are nearly always doing so for selfish reasons. They like the class how it is, so any change is taken as a personal attack. They fail or refuse to see any reasoning for the changes they don’t like. Often any changes is deemed “for noobs” or for players that they believe just aren’t good enough to play Windwalker.
These posts can then devolve into personal attacks on anyone who is saying that the changes may be necessary or positive, no matter how established or well known that person is. Its all visible on the Feedback Forums if you so choose to check it out.
There are a few of us, Hinalover, Calligraphy, myself, and a few others, who are in the unique situations of having experienced the community going through the positives and negatives of Windwalkers. We’ve answered hundreds of questions, helped dozens of players, written pages of guides and posts, and done hours of theorycrafting.
When the initial change to SEF was made to make it toggleable, I was super bummed because, as a skilled player, I felt that I had mastered the ability. However, as someone who does all the other things for the community that I do, I was over the moon. The changes that Blizzard has made so far will bring more people to the spec and make it easier for newer and lesser skilled players to stay closer to competitive, while allowing the top players to squeeze out even better numbers.
Sometimes the needs of the many outweigh the butt hurt of the few.
Now the real stuff:
This evening Celestalon helped clarify some of the AI changes:
An update on this: We’ve significantly improved SEF’s AI, and tailored it for its new purpose.
SEF clones will count toward SCK, and they will actively seek to maximize its effect. Every time they TP or BoK or RSK, they’ll switch to a new target. Their target selection logic will try to hit targets that haven’t been hit yet, and beyond that will prefer ones that were hit longest ago. They’ll also ignore targets that have >90% DR or are not in combat with you. And since they Flying Serpent Kick to each target, they lose nearly no time in travel time even if the targets are spread apart.
Basically, SEF should help you maximize SCK in just a couple GCDs, while they’re out.
This means that, during SEF, you will not have to switch from your current target to generate SCK stacks if you do not want to. You do not need to tab at all. Outside of SEF you will still have to do so to generate stacks.
What still remains to be theorycrafted is the breakpoints for number of targets that will determine the attack priority that we follow.
This spell has been just about the most controversial spell for Windwalkers since it was introduced with the Throne of Thunder raid. It has been tuned and tweaked and figured out as time went on. Overall, and in my opinion, it has been the single most confusing ability that WW has had, being nearly impossible to fully figure out on your own without extensive testing.
I discuss how to use it on Live in my “Cleave; SEF, FoF, CX and you” post.
As for the Legion version, it has gone through several iterations. Here are some off the top of my head:
- Working just like Live
- A toggleable ability with the current Live damage reduction
- A slight decrease in the damage reduction
- A HUGE decrease in the damage reduction
- The new April 6th version
The 4/6 Cliffnotes:
- FoF no longer splits damage 1/(2*n), it now just copies. So if it hits 2 targets, it does 2x the damage. It currently would do 1.5x the damage.
- SCK gained 150% damage, has 4 Chi and gains an additional +50% damage stacks from hitting unique targets within a 15s decay window.
- SEF does 1/3 damage per spirit (including you), and buffs SCK
If you’ve listened or spoken to me about the Legion changes at all, or read my other posts, you may have seen that I thought SEF needed to be changed as it was a huge barrier to newer players who didn’t fully understand everything about it. The 2nd changes made it much more new player friendly, but the AI was very difficult to “control”.
These newest changes somewhat rework the purpose of SEF, taking it from a cleave ability to a burst AOE ability. Overall I think this is a great change to the changes that were already needed. It keeps it a simple to understand ability while making it possible to be incredibly powerful in the right hands.
We were also lucky enough to get some feedback from Celestalon in the Monk Discord immediately after these changes were announced to get some more information.
Here’s what we learned:
- SEF is designed to be a burst AOE cooldown, it no longer has any bearing on anything other than SCK, so it has no use for single target or any other ability.
- SCK’s “stacks” are generated by unique targets hit, so hitting target A for a 2nd time after hitting target B will still only generate 2 stacks.
- SEF clones hitting a target with their TP/BoK/RSK will also generate a stack, assuming you haven’t already generated a stack from that target within the last 15s.
- FoF and WDP are meant to be the main form of sustained cleave/AOE.
- RJW will remain largely unchanged.
- There is no cap to SCK “stacks” other than the 15s decay, they can be generated independently of SEF’s buff, so you can front load a lot of stacks into SEF’s increased damage.
- All the changes, FoF, SCK, and SEF are independent of one another.
- The changes to “Tab targetting” will help alleviate the need to track what targets have already given you a stack.
Overall I like these changes as they leave the door open for a lot of interesting stuff. HOWEVER, they do somewhat go against making it easy to use and understand, but its still an improvement over what we currently have.
If you have any questions you can find me in game, on Discord, or on Reddit.