Tuesday, April 10, 2012

6 Things Every Monk Should Do (3-1)

Check out here for the first three things you should do.

And now that you've done that, let's leap right into the remaining three things every monk needs to do to make themselves a better Monk.

3) Learn To Use Expel Harm

Expel Harm is the only self-heal you gain as a Monk regardless of type, and it's an incredibly useful one. Not only do you heal yourself, but you also damage an enemy for an equal amount. Seems simple, right? Well, there's a number of things going on here:

First, unlike many other classes, your ability to heal and deal damage at the same time is not a percent, and it's not based on damage done or your total hit points. It's a static number, always healing you for X amount, and then dealing damage equal to the amount healed. That means that you can safely use it without any chance of the heal portion of Expel Harm being lower because of enemy resistance (though that will impact damage normally) and you don't have to worry about it missing and not gaining the healing portion of Expel Harm (although, again, the damage portion can presumably still miss.) The downside? As Blizzard recently clarified, it only deals damage based on how much is actually healed - overhealing doesn't matter here. So if you're at full health, using expel harm is going to only waste a global cooldown and lock this ability out for 15 seconds, doing neither healing or damage. Get a feel while soloing for how much of your health bar it will actually fill, and for best usage make sure you're that low when you use it.

Second, how the enemy is chosen is...unusual. Look at the wording again:
Instantly heals yourself for 979 to 1137, and causes 100% of the amount healed to instantly be dealt to a nearby enemy as damage within 5 yards.
It makes no mention of which enemy it will harm, and until I can beta test this I can't be 100% certain of how it works, but I'm going to make some assumptions here. First: Worded this way, it seems likely expel harm will heal you regardless of the presence or absence of an enemy. If you're a mistweaver, you don't need to run into melee range to heal yourself. If you're running out of fire, you don't need to run up to the boss to use it. If you just finished a batch of trash and are waiting for the healer to top off the tank or his own mana pool, you can top yourself off then. Wonderful! The downside: there's no mention of which enemy it will damage. Against a group of trash or a pack of adds, it might target one at random, meaning it could hit one the tank has little to no threat against, or one that's currently crowd controlled (although you shouldn't be within 5 yards of a crowd controlled mob anyway, but it's still something to consider), or one the off-tank has (or the main tank) - all of which are potentially bad.

Third, it's going to create more threat than you'd expect. See, unlikely most heal-and-damage abilities, it gives you a boost of healing and then damages - meaning you're generating a chunk of threat from the self heal, and another chunk from the damage. There's a reason healers don't sit in melee to heal for most fights - healing generates a lot of threat, and if you're right next to the enemy that's increased. As a tank this is a blessing - healing threat is AOE threat, so not only are you helping the healer keep your health up but you're also generating damage threat and healing threat, making this a great tool (especially considering the Brewmaster's low to nearly-non existent Area of Effect abilities.) 

As a windwalker or mistweaver, this requires you to be very careful - in the latter case, I'd advise against using Expel Harm at all if you're within 5 yards of an enemy except as a last resort. Remember - if you die, the rest of the group likely will shortly thereafter, and nothing says "Dead healer" faster than ramming into an enemy's face "Hey! I'm the reason this bastard isn't dying! And I just punched you in the face!" For DPS, it's more situational, but  as a general rule you should wait until a bit further into the fight - when the tank has had time to generate more threat - to use, should never use if you've pulled aggro and the tank's busy trying to grab it back, and should not use if there's only one target (a boss) and you're right next to the tank's threat. Use it carefully, but use it - you make everyone's life easier by keeping yourself up, and it's not a disruption to your DPS.

2) You are Not An Off Anything

See, this is one area where monks are different from other hybrid classes. A Retribution specced Paladin can, if the boss is close to dead, slap on a shield and righteous fury and hold the boss long enough to finish the fight. A druid can pop into bear form, a DK can slap on blood presence, a warrior can go into defensive stance. For healers, a DPS build will often have enough healing abilities to keep the tank up for that last 10% if the healer goes down. Now, if that still works in Mists of Pandaria for every other class remains to be seen, but I can tell you that it won't work for us.

Look at our current baseline abilities.  We do not have any targeted healing abilities in our baseline toolkit. We have almost no mitigation abilities outside of Expel Harm, and only a taunt for threat generation. Fortifiying Brew is a minor "We need a tank for 20 seconds" ability, but remember that you'll be wearing leather, not plate, so doubling your hit points will still make it unlikely you'll live those full 20 seconds - especially since you can't be healed. Your stance for damage mitigation and tanking is tied into the Brewmaster spec. Your stance for healing is tied into the Mistweaver spec. You are not going to be very good at picking up the slack if a party member dies - hell, that demonology warlock will probably make a better offtank than you, as will the hunter's pet, the affliction warlock's pet, the shadow priest, or the hunter himself*. If the tank or the healer goes down, odds are anyone else in the group who can pick up the slack should before you try, since you'll probably die (or let whoever you're trying to keep alive die) much faster than you would like.

Don't look at the monk as a hybrid class. Look at the monk as three entirely separate but very similar classes contained within one, all of them unified by the fact that they can punch you in the face.
*Not entirely joking here. At least the hunter will be in mail.

Unless you massively outgear what you're running, odds are before every boss fight someone in the party says "Everyone ready?"

Usually, everyone types the letter "r" and the combat starts shortly thereafter.

As a monk, you have a duty. A duty to the party, a duty to your class, a duty to WoW as a whole. And that duty is to, regardless of spec, say "Sec", and plop down 3 healing spheres. It will take you a grand total of 5 seconds to do - and it will make the fight much easier. The healer can run through them if he gets low. The DPS can run through them if you're healing and can't take healing off the tank. The tank can run through them if he has to kite the boss around. Those 3 little spheres represent a great increase in survivability for any member of the party, and you don't have to sacrifice your attention, healing, threat, or DPS at any point in the fight to use them. These alone will make you a valued member of the party. Do not forget to use these, and only don't drop them if you are asked not to. Learn boss fight positioning so you know where to best put them. Make sure you use them. They're the picture for this post for a reason, people! Every spec can use them, every monk can drop them, every member of the party can walk into them if needed - including you rolling through it if you get low. It makes everyone's life easier. 

Just drop those little green balls before the fight starts, and then you can start the punching.

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