Welcome back to the second edition of Pandaren Ponderings. Last week I took a look at the Pandaren race. This week I’ll cover the new class introduced in Mists of Pandaria, the Monk.  Lets go over the basics, shall we? Monks are available to almost every race in the game. The only restrictions are no Worgen and no Goblins. For those not counting that leaves the 11 remaining races to get their Monk on.

Pandaren Chi PunchMonks are a cloth/leather wearing melee-based class. A true hybrid; they can Tank, Heal or DPS. Lorewise they follow the theme of Asian combat monks, not the stuffy old man in a brown robe stereotype. The reason for this is simple, the class is being “taught” to the other races by the Pandaren. The Monk has three specs which are as follows Brewmaster (Tank), Windwalker (DPS), and Mistweaver (Healing). I’ve always been a tank first and foremost, except for that 2 week stint of role experimentation when I first began playing, but we’re not going to talk about that. (Ed: Ahh, Brad’s college experimentation years.) So as such I’ve spent the most time on beta with a Brewmaster Pandaren Monk. It has been awhile since I played with him so I’m sure a lot has changed, but I still have a fairly accurate idea of how the core class mechanics work.

The monk uses at any given time two resources: Brewmasters and Windwalkers use chi and energy, while Mistweavers use chi and mana. Wait a second, what is chi you say? That’s new! Yes it is. Chi is the new resource created for the Monk class. You can have up to 4 chi (5 if you take the level 45 talent Ascension) at any time provided you have used the appropriate ability to generate it. Unlike a Rogue’s combo points and a Paladin’s holy power, chi does not deteriorate over time or expire due to end of combat. Energy works just like on a Rogue and refills over time.

On the gearing side of things Monks are fairly old hat ideas just thrown on a new class. Brewmasters will gear like feral/guardian Bears and generally are encouraged to use an agility staff or polearm; Mistweavers will gear like a resto Druid with a intellect/spirit staff; and Windwalkers will gear like Rogues or feral cats and encouraged to dual wield fist weapons or 1h swords, maces, and axes of the agility variety, though they can also use polearms and staffs.

I don’t want to get too far into actual abilities, as much of that has changed and is still subject to change before and even after launch; however there are a few things that stick out that I’m confident to say will be around. Each spec has it’s own stance very much like a warrior and most of the combat abilities are based around these stances as well, requiring you to be in one or another to use specific actions.

Pandaren Monk RollNow the fun stuff: Monks have a mobility action called “roll”. It looks best on Pandaren to me, however all Monks get it. Roll lets you, well, roll a short distance from where you were. It has 2 charges so it can be used back to back to avoid things or just get around faster as you roll faster than you walk; very useful in many situations. Once those charges are used it incurs a small cooldown, but nothing so terrible as to make it useless. Get used to this one. You’ll be seeing it a lot. The best thing to compare it to would probably be a Mage’s ‘blink’ spell.  Beyond that Monks have another ability that’s likely to get overlooked after awhile, but in concept is very cool. Fighting style changes the Monk’s animations and basic melee attack ‘jab’ based on the current weapon they have equipped. Again nothing fancy, but just enough TLC to show in my opinion the devs have really put their time and efforts into this class.  Personally I’m looking forward to this class more than my main (Prot Paladin) and can’t wait to have a new fun class to play around with within the next few months.

Pandaren Monk

Next time I’ll take a look at some of the major systems changes and new features added in Mists. Remember this Thursday August 16th is the premier of the new cinematic from Gamescom in Germany. I might even throw up just a small story for that if it’s pretty (of course it will be).