Monday, October 1, 2012

Closing in on 50

Tonight I hit lvl 48. For whatever reason, I feel like leveling has slowed down a lot compared to my paladin I just took through this level range and is now lvl 65. I'm still doing the majority of my leveling through instances which may be part of the problem. As I pointed out in my last post, there's a lot of idiots out right now and I think that's slowing down the instances. My biggest gripe is people being completely oblivious of their aggro range.

On my paladin, if someone pulled, I could run over, drop a consecrate on the healer, and walk away. The residual ground effect would get light aggro on everything enough that they'd come to me and I could hit them with Hammer of the Righteous and all's good. But with a monk tank, I'm pretty light on what AOE effects I have. I have the Keg Smash, which is actually pretty good. It deals a good amount of damage and thus, gets strong aggro, but it doesn't leave a lasting effect and has a fairly long cooldown, so if I miss one (which happens), it's hard to pick that one up before it mushes the healer.

Breath of Fire is another decent one, but it has a frontal cone. The trouble is that it's a very hard cone to manage. It dies out in a short distance, and at the near end, is very narrow. It also blows through your chi, so you don't get too many chances.

Meanwhile, I reiterate my position on Monks feeling pretty squishy as compared to paladins. My paladin is in Nagrand and I just with through the Nesingwary quests. I was able to pull 5-6 mobs on level or 1 higher than me and AOE them down without fearing for my health at all. If I dropped below 50%, I could always hit Word of Glory and was healed completely. My Holy Power would be back in no time flat.

That same skill proved amazingly useful in many instances. Healers afk'd, disconnected, or otherwise stopped healing for a time, and quite often, I was so busy chain pulling everything I could find, that I didn't notice until several pulls later and I never worried about my health!

So what is the monk equivalent? A Paltry Expel Harm. As of right now, it seems to heal for < 10% of my overall health. Pretty measly. We have a self shield that costs 2 chi and absorbs a pretty impressive amount of damage, but given the weak AOE, weak leather armor, and lack of a smooth rotation (at least at this level), AOE grinding is looking pretty impossible.

My other gripe has to do with Blackout Kick which procs Shuffle. This is a super important buff to have up pretty much all the time. It's a huge boost to your mitigation (which is what monks are all about as tanks) both through not being hit, and shrugging off the damage with Stagger. At least, at present, I don't have the skill to drop all Stagger damage yet, but come time, that's going to be huge, dumping that much damage into it only to make it disappear. But that can't happen unless the Shuffle effect is up. But it only lasts 6 seconds.

Given that the global cooldown on most spells is 1 second, once Blackout Kick is cast, it takes at least one more GCD to get enough chi to use it again, but typically two. So four left. If you use it on another important skill (like Breath of Fire to keep that AOE DOT up), then that's another down. Two seconds left. Typically, you now need to get two more chi building attacks in, but what has happened by now is you're out of energy to be able to use those chi builders.

So the methodology seems to stall there. Either monks will need to have a skill to build energy a bit faster to get in more chi building, attacks will need to generate more chi outright (which Power Strikes helps considerably), or the chi requirement of one of these spells needs to be reduced. Until then, the rotation has a lot of bottlenecks.

This is not to say the class isn't rather fun to play. Being able to use Roll as a way to jump into a pack of mobs on a pull is pretty great.

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