Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Question & Answer Time With Sunnier The Brewmistress!

Hello to all my readers, I spoke about a special post in the works for you guys and girls out there! so for those who are interested in the ways of the Brew, want to know more about the class from another perspective as well as a whole bunch of cool facts then look no further! Today we get an insight into one of the monk communities most well known Blogger, Co host of Monk Meditation Podcast and Heroic raider in Frustration. Ladies and Gentlemen, Orc and Gnome alike, I give you Sunnier! 

I am Sunnier, brewmistress blogger of SunniersArtOfWar.com. I tank for my guild Frustration on Fenris-US, update various brewmaster guides around the web, and maintain a surprisingly popular set of Weak Auras. You can contact me via email, sunnier@sunniersartofwar.com, twitter, @SunnierBear, or ingame, Sunnier#1336.

Class Based Questions.

- Greetings Sunnier, Thank you for taking part in my questions and answer section for the Brewmaster Monk. As many people may or may not know, You originally played a Druid tank in your early days of world of warcraft. With the most recent addition to the tanking club, What was your main reason for the change from druid to monk? 

I've always loved monk archetypes in various games -- the agile, squishy melee character who punches and heals -- so I was very intrigued when monks were announced. I still loved my druid, but I think what finally pushed me over was aesthetics. Pandaren looked adorable, and monks could see their transmog in combat! Not to mention the unique animations. I'm a sucker for pretty things.

- The Brewmaster play style was introduced with active mitigation in mind, and it arguably is the strongest to tank with currently in terms of the new tanking system, Are you glad you changed classes when you did? 

I'd say paladins are the strongest tank right now, but there's no question that brewmasters are in a close second. However, even if monks were the worst tank, I'd still be happy with my choice. (I rather enjoy the challenge of being an underdog.) I still think that tanks are relatively balanced in today's world, such that any fight can be completed with any tank. The apparent imbalance only arises when placed under a microscope, and when unintended strategies used by high end guilds become expected in less hardcore guilds.

- The playstyle of the monk is somewhat different to the other tanks currently, do you feel the play style and *feel* of the class makes it stand out and really suit the monk identity?

Brewmasters are unique in that we have so many buttons to push. We have more active mitigation choices than other tanks, though some of those are closer to buff maintenance than true choices. We are exceptionally good at preparing for damage, and I really enjoy that proactive playstyle. I like that we are relatively smooth tanks, which fits well with our drunken brawler flavor. I especially love how Blizzard incorporated aspects of real life "drunken kung fu", like staggering or gift of the ox (where we actually have to make our characters weave about), into our own unique mechanics.

- With the Identity in mind, do you wish the Brewmaster had something else to make them stand out from the other monks specs, or do you feel blizzard have done this well enough with the stance animations and statue? 

Blizzard did a great job of establishing the Brewmaster identity, and I think it's the most well-defined monk spec. Our three identifying features are drunken brawling (the fighting style), brewing, and the ox. Drunken brawling gives us stagger, shuffle, our stance animations, and any other martial arts inspired abilities. Brewing gives us Keg Smash, Dizzying Haze, and the other brew skills. We can thank Niuzao for our ox skills, like Ox statue, Clash, and Gift of the Ox. Now if we're missing one thing, it's obviously the ability to summon Niuzao.

- A huge debate within the Brewmaster community is *what secondary stats do I go for* With this question forever popping up in forums, what would be your reasonings behind going Crit/haste heavy or Mastery/stam heavy? 

My general advice is always: if you die a lot, try mastery/stam; if you're not dying, try crit/haste. When we get into specifics, I usually advise newer players to start with mastery and stam because it's very forgiving. In a full mastery build, your damage intake is so smooth that even if you make a mistake, your healers can likely help you recover. It's also useful for experienced players who are going against an especially hard-hitting boss. When I advise people to go crit, it's usually because they want to push their personal dps. Crit is great for the majority of monks because it double dips as our best dps stat and a strong damage reduction stat. The downside is that you take more bursty damage and can be harder to heal.

As an aside, this stat paradigm is one of my favorite aspects of the class. There's no right or wrong answer (unless you're a high end guild, but most people aren't so we'll ignore that). A lot of our stats are optimal at levels the user feels most comfortable at. As a guide writer, I feel like I did my job when I enable people to make educated decisions for themselves, and since monks have no single correct answer, that makes my job more enjoyable.

- Many people enjoy Throne of Thunder, I personally feel it was one of the better content patches to be released this expansion, which two fights were your most enjoyable/memorable to tank?

My favorite fight is Horridon. When you have to tank both the trash and the dinosaur, you have to focus on two completely different aspects of tanking: add pickup and dealing with large, predictable damage. The different and often conflicting goals made the fight more interesting. And I can't forget that I just love giant dinosaurs in the first place. My second favorite is Megaera. After a bunch of complicated movement fights, it felt really nice to just sit relatively still and focus on surviving. That fight also encouraged the use of some unconventional tools, like transcendence, healing orbs, and glyph of guard.

- From your heroic raiding experience in this patch, what would you say was the most challenging and demanding fight you come up against? 

Dark Animus was the most challenging for me. We spent a lot of time attempting the zerg strat on Animus, which pushed both my survival and dps skills. I learned that I am not very good at maximizing both of those at the same time (though to be fair, neither was the rest of my guild) so we went back to the "normal" strategy and eventually killed it.

- Coming up to the end of the expansion, and with a number of changes to monks in general, do you feel the monk has handled and surpassed your expectations? 

I initially expected monks would experience a roller coaster of changes, similar to the death knight throughout WotLK. I was pleasantly surprised that, for brewmasters at least, we've been incredibly stable. We don't have any glaring issues, we're in high demand, and it looks like it's going to stay that way. I was a bit worried about us during the beta because we were slow to get a defining feel and it was starting to look like we were going to be very boring. But they pulled through and gave us some really great play.

Get To Know The Person Behind The Class!

- You have been playing long enough to see all the changes within world of warcraft, The good and the bad. What has been you most memorable moment? This can include an old guild, a specific item/mount you worked for etc. 

Most of my memorable moments revolve around boss kills. I think the one that sticks with me the most is killing H Spine of Deathwing pretty early in the progression race. It was an incredibly stressful experience, and the nature of that fight was that everything went completely nuts at the end. Most of our third phase wipes were due to tank mistakes, which meant that my guild leader was screaming at me the entire time. So when it finally went down, there was such a huge surge of relief.

- Which expansion was your most favorite and why? 

Despite its very obvious balance flaws, I loved the aesthetics and raids of The Burning Crusade. The zones were so bizarre and magical, there's still no expansion that's quite so recognizable as that one. I also have a soft spot for Cataclysm, where I experienced my best progression and I really enjoyed the low level zones.

- Every few months, blizzard has an in game event, winterveil, brewfest etc. Which one would you say is your most favorite and enjoyable?

I love the summer fire festival, especially back before you could fly in the old world. It was really relaxing to romp around on a ground mount and extinguish/honor all the bonfires.

- Out of all the raids you have seen and experienced  which one was your most enjoyable, you can also include the one you like the least. 

It's hard to pick just one, since there's something I love from just about every raid. Sunwell wins in the most categories because it was beautiful, challenging, and had excellent visual storytelling (like the elves became more demonic, the lighting grew darker). It all culminated in a fantastic story-as-encounter in Kil'jaeden. The conclusion of that raid was fantastic.

As for least favorite, the mood of Ice Crown Citadel bums me out. I mean, it's a well designed raid and understandably dark and cold. But it still bums me out.

- List your favorite zone from the following continents:

Eastern Kingdoms: Gilneas. They did an excellent job giving the worgens culture through their environment.
Kalimdor: Feralas. A green zone that I felt a special affinity for as a leveling feral druid.
Outland: Nagrand (obv). The home of the talbuks!
Northrend: Howling Fjord. It has wonderful music.
Pandaria: Jade Forest. It's so green!

- With each new expansion released, which one did you enjoy the leveling experience most? 

I really enjoyed the low level quests introduced in Cataclysm, but for high level characters I loved my initial quest through Northrend. The story felt so well connected, like I was contributing, while also learning about Azeroth's most interesting history.

- If you never rolled a druid or monk, what other class has caught your eye over the years? 

The one other class I've always gotten to max level is a hunter, though to be frank I've always felt I mesh better with shaman. I just was never able to stick with a spec long enough (I love them all) to reach max level on one. Power over the elements is very cool.

- With the new expansion on the horizon, what would you want it to be based on? 

I'm really hoping we get to fight the Burning Legion and visit other strange planets. Not only because of the TBC nostalgia, but because I want to see what Blizzard's concept artists can do when you give them free reign. Maybe we should give Azeroth a rest for a few years and go destroy another planet?

A Sunny Future For Sunnier! 

- With the success of your incredible blog, Sunniersartofwar.com which is also featured on Icy Veins, What other treats, posts are in the works for your much appreciated Blog?

In the short term, I'm doing a lot of work in preparation for 5.4. Updating guides, reviewing new bosses, catching up on new theorycraft. It's a lot of work! In the long term, I'm working on a few new guides and site improvements. I've slowly been teaching myself lua in hopes that I can translate my auras into a full blown addon, but that's going to take a while.

- Monk meditation is an incredible Podcast, I for one absolutely love it, But how did you guys come about making this awesome show? 

Monk Meditation was the brain child of the guys over in the Convert to Raid guild. CTR is huge and has supported an excellent podcast for a long time, so it's only natural that little baby podcasts branch off. Lucky for me, they reached out because they didn't have a brewmaster representative yet. I was attracted to the project because I've always been a fan of the druid equivalent, Team Waffle. A few weeks of organizing our ideas and Monk Meditation was born!

- Can we expect some master classes on the Brewmaster in the somewhat near future? maybe a tier 16 Trinket comparison?  :P

Ahhh trinket comparisons are so hard and the most requested thing! I've been playing around with them on the beta, but the difficult part about tank trinkets is that there's rarely a pair that is best for all situations and players. Some are good for dps, some for avoidance, some for smoothing, some are mixtures. On top of that, it's difficult to really get a feel for which ones are useful without spending a few nights raiding with them, and that's something you just can't do well on the PTR. 

After that, without diving deep into theorycrafting or returning to the progression race, the best I can do is read around and regurgitate what I find. Since we're nearing the end of the expansion, it's about time for retrospectives and commentary on the meta playstyle, which might be of interest to more experienced brewmasters. :)

- You're the voice of the Brewmasters in this webshow, as well as a key figure within the monk community, did you ever expect to get such a large following of players? 

It sort of snuck up on me. I started out blogging three years ago as a self-teaching tool, and slowly gained followers as a druid, and later as a monk. I try not to think about having a following because it's terrifying! What about when I steer players in the wrong direction, or forget to cover something important? I'm not a theorycrafter or progression leader, so I constantly worry about what I can offer. Whenever my worries get the best of me, I have to remind myself that my blog is just for self expression and conveying my passion for a niche subject, and that the people reading it are just a bonus.

- Frustration, Your home on Fenris, whats your guilds plans for the future? Are you preparing for 5.4 and beyond? 

We're really looking forward to the merged realms in the future. Fenris has a very small population, which makes recruiting skilled players nearly impossible. My team only has 10 raiders, and personally I'd love to have a tiny buffer so that we don't have to stop raiding for two weeks when someone goes on vacation. I hope that with merged realms, and the possibility of skilled pugs or full time raiders, we can actually clear all of upcoming Tier 16.

- What does the future hold in store for Sunnier?

Right now, my mind is very much focused on testing and research in preparation for the upcoming patch. I hope that once the patch drops, I can take a break and do something unimportant like pet battles, the new Timeless Isle, or level some alts, but that's unlikely! In a few weeks I get to go to PAX, a gaming convention in Seattle, and meet some other WoW bloggers. And then in a few months, Blizzcon!

I just want to say a huge thank you too Sunnier for taking the time in answering the following questions. The monk community have followed you throughout your Journeys, Updating us as you go and giving your view on upcoming changes, comparisons and such. I just want to also thank you from so many of us who use your fantastic Weakauras. Without your information a lot of us will be still in the dark, but your guides have given us light. Your blog has inspired me to work on my own one, and just passing 3500 views it was a great idea to work on the inspiration you gave me. Keep up the great work! We as a community appreciate it dearly. /bow

-Vaylen. Ragnaros Eu.

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