Friday, 10 January 2014

Way Of The Brew

“A mountain is composed of tiny grains of earth. The ocean is made up of tiny drops of water. Even so, life is but an endless series of little details, actions, speeches, and thoughts. The consequences whether good or bad of even the least of them are far-reaching.” - Swami Sivinada.




So maybe the thought of making a monk has crossed your mind, maybe you have wondered were the monk lore really connects with the current Warcraft lore and rightly so. I have been wanting to create a post dedicated to the monk class for some time now and with the new expansion on the horizon, many people are looking for a fresh start, with new challenges to take on, as well as something refreshing to learn, The monk class is a fantastic option to try out for all those reasons. I have had my fair dabble in each class over the years I have played this game and out of all of those years, the most recent one with the release of Mists Of Pandaria, The monk class has easily been the most enjoyable and fun to learn. I have always been a huge fan of the Monk culture and their lifestyle, so the monk class was something I was really excited to test out. without the monk class being introduced, My little blog would not be were it is today. So grab your finest brew, sit back and relax as we take a little walk through the mysterious ways of the monk.

What does monk mean?


It is believed that a monk is a person who practices the arts of religious asceticism, Living in solitude for most of their life span. Either it be serving other people and beings by providing enlightenment, or living life within normal society but living their life in prayer and contemplation. The concept of the monk can been seen through a number of religious communities such as: Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism, Lutheranism, Jainism and Methodism. The term "monk" is used to cover the generic stereotype of the person from that culture, Monk can also mean Hermit, Friar or cenobite, but in a modern age we use the generic name, Monk to cover all aspects of the culture.



We think of monks as solemn individuals who train and practice on their arts through training and resourcefulness, passed down through generations and taught for a life time and this would be correct for one of the religions. This is the way of Buddhism. The Buddhist Monks, also known as the "community of excellent ones" live a extremely basic life yet have a very methodical approach to it. In most monk cultures, vows of liberation are taken and stuck too through their life time in order to develop their own personal discipline. They are trained in fighting with a unique style of self defense, teaching their bodies to work in super natural ways. This does take a life time of dedication, Their outlook on life, the ability to balance two opposites in perfect harmony makes them extraordinary people and similarities can be noticeable between these monks, as well as the ones within WoW.

Origins Of The Monk


"When the pandaren were subjugated by the mogu centuries ago, it was the monks that brought hope to a seemingly dim future. Restricted from using weapons by their slave masters, these pandaren instead focused on harnessing their chi and learning weaponless combat. When the opportunity for revolution struck, they were well-trained to throw off the yoke of oppression." - WoWWiki.



Drawing by Lynxia

Much like the real Buddhism monks, they'are culturally studious and refine their lifestyle within their own company and practices. The Pandaren are the greatest of monks, their teachings and understanding of their culture has been passed through the other races through out Azeroth. Their philosophies have really shaped the world we are drawn in to. Monks though have also been known to be apart of the Scarlet crusade well before the events of Mists for how long for, I'm unsure, but there is also a monk some of you may be aware of and that's Malygos. That's right folks, The former Dragon aspect of the Blue dragon flight, in his human form is in actual fact, a monk. 

Monks can also be traced back to the Runemasters who are still within the world of warcraft today. They merge brute strength with arcane magics. Covering their bodies with mythic tattoos and often imbuing them with energies to increase the hand to hand combat. While the Rune master are known for not wearing much armor, they do this to prevent hindrances and to inscribe their runes to demonstrate their subtlety and finesse. The Rune master is a free spirit, more at home within the deep vegetation of a forest than a city and can be found around thousand needles and Feralas. They are considered to be close to nature, but not like Druids or Shamans but in their own unique way. These traditions date back to the age of the titans, way before any shamanistic teachings. Dwarves also shared the same heritage but all too soon forgot their teachings and the art was lost. However, with the expedition to Kalimdor with Janie Proudmoore, they encountered tauren who re learnt the art and offered what little they could of the Rune master abilities, even though the dwarves and tauren were never neutral with each other, they always shared an interested in the ways of the runemaster. See if you can match up their similarities between the Runemasters and the Monks!  

Way of the monk


So with a rich history and an abundance of lore behind them, you may be asking, Why should I play a monk? What makes them different from any other class, especially leather type classes? These are questions I can not answer for people specifically as much as I try but I will go over and highlight what draws us to the monk, what makes them valuable and what you can expect from them.




Mobility

I don't know if this is just me, but having the freedom to move around as much as possible at an insane speed is something that keeps this class fun. I wanted to mention Mobility first because their use of it is unlike any other class. Of course you have your blinks, shadow steps and heroic leaps, but they don't have flying serpent kicks and rolls now do they! Blizzard did an incredible job with the monks mobility because none of them need a target or a spot to be located before you use the spell, this gives the class a unique fluidity that every other class lacks.

Uniqueness 

Monks are naturally compared to rogues and druids, each class uses energy as a resource, but monks have another resource to maintain and that's chi. No matter what spec you're playing in, chi is vital in all of the playstyles. As a Windwalker (dps) it gives you a reason to use energy to gain chi, to then be used on killing blows, it's far from clunky and is one of the most fluid specs I have played. It gives us something else to use and not just tunnel vision the energy bar like other classes, or watch our rage when in tanking form, monks retain their energy and chi even while in Brewmaster (tank) that allows your to use brews and insane absorbs to reduce the amount of punishment your raid takes. Something I think blizzard implemented perfectly, Keeping the class unique and refreshing. Mistweavers (Healer) Also gain the use of Chi, making the balance between mana usage and mana regeneration rather unique and keeping your party/raid in perfect harmony of each other and out of harms way.

Combat style

As a monk, you wont feel the need show off your weapon skills so much, instead your animations focus around your punches and kicks, the spell effects are simply great especially the particle density with our aoe spells. Our abilities are clean, and also fluid enough to make the simplest of fights, more entertaining. There is nothing like doing a ton of back flips in a fight and rolling out of fire! Our stances are awesome too! If your a dps, you will be in the stance of the fierce tiger, Stance of the wise serpent if healing is more your thing and then finally Stance of the sturdy Ox while tanking. A nice change from battle/defensive stance.

Below is a video of the Windwalker monk in action, Myself killing Garrosh normal making great use of our mobility and a good chance to see some of our spells.




So if you have not already guessed, Monks are well suited to all roles in a party, Making us the newest of hybrids and I really do think we are one of the better ones. Each roll will  be always worth a raiding spot, Next I will go over the strengths of each spec of the monks.

Mistweaver - Their ability to spread out heals is incredible although it can not really be controlled it can be an incredible way to get the whole raid up when needed. Many fights now have predictable damage so using their abilities at specific moments is what makes a good Mistweaver, a better one. Also they have the greatest healing asset, the ability to move while healing. A mixture of hots and direct healing spells work in perfect harmony together making the monks special mobility great for Mistweavers. They also have a unique way to regain mana thanks to Mana tea. I hear crit is the best mana regen stat to go for so make use of it!


Windwalker - The Windwalkers mobility is even better in this spec thanks to flying serpent kick making fights with alot of movement rather easy. We also have some of the better damage mitigation spells the game has to offer, such as defuse magic, zen meditation and touch of karma making us a rather tough leather dps. The monks rotation and use of chi and energy make it so we can focus more on whats going on in the fight and not really to demanding on the tightness of the rotation helping us focus on movement and switching etc. What also makes the Windwalker special is our aoe/cleave damage, some of the best if not the best in game. Depending on talents we can still use our normal rotation while in aoe situations making it super fun, yet super simple. Also make great use of our clone ability, its a huge help for aoe conditions.



Brewmaster - In my opinion, the best tanking class I have ever played. MoP was made around the new tanking system active mitigation, and monks have it in bucket loads! They can shrug of a ton of damage, have great mobility and thanks to Ox statue, able to place absorbs on the whole raid, so beautiful. They also have some of the best damage thanks to keg smash and the ability to aoe while doing their single target rotation much like Windwalkers (with the specific talent) They also have some incredible raid cooldowns at their disposal making them a worthy main/co tank to have in your raid.



This was just a small insight in to the things you can expect from a monk, take your pick, either way you're always a valuable asset and will have a ton of fun during the process!

Solo play

So if raiding is not your type of thing, but soloing old raids and quests are, then the monk is equipped with the perfect tools for the job. I have soloed raids with a number of minutes due to their mobility and pure strength. As a Windwalker or a Brewmaster I think we are one of the best solo/boosting classes. Our self healing is one of our strongest features as well as abilities like touch of karma and healing sphere, we wont take any damage but be able to heal up as much as we wish. We also have a huge amount of stuns making it easy to stop attackers when things get tough. Brewmasters as I said before have crazy dps, plus their able to mitigate so much damage while being the most mobile of the tanks, making boosting a breeze.

How about leveling?  

The same thing goes for leveling, our mobility is great for things like quests, we also have the ability to gain a new quest every 10 levels were you will transfer your soul to the peak of serenity to gain a 50% exp gain for an hour making leveling that much easier.

The Monk Community

I tend to mention this a fair bit during my posts and twitter, but I can't express it enough. During my 8 years of playing, I have had my good times and bad times, just like every other player, but this last year has been so unique and refreshing too me, it really has re lit the spark between me and Warcraft. Thanks to a number of people, we have our own Monk podcast, our own website to go to for advice, guides, random chatter, that's free of the things you see on other sites. *shudders at WoW forums* and players who enjoy the game for what it is, enjoy the monk.. not for it being crazy OP or terrible, but for it being fun. If you have ideas, the community will hear you out, embrace your opinions and make you feel welcome. One of the least elitist communities I have known. We also have an active amount of bloggers, so if reading other peoples opinions and random chit chat is your thing, or if you're interested in starting one yourself, what a great place to start.

So there you have it! If you're looking to start a new character for the next expansion and was maybe thinking of a monk, I hope this little post highlighted a few doubts and unanswered questions. Monks are incredibly fun to play and I urge everyone to try one. If you have any other questions, please contact me! Info is in the *Contact* page. - Vaylen.