Just what is a monk?
Monks are masters of weaponless combat who have learned to harness their chi hurt their enemies or heal their friends. While they fight bare-handed, they can (and should!) equip weapons: they can use fist weapons, one-handed axes, one-handed maces, one-handed swords, polearms, and staves and can dual-wield one-handed weaponry. They use cloth and leather armor and, though monks originated in Pandaria (and you'll need the Mists of Pandaria expansion to play one), the class is open to pandaren, dwarf, human, blood elf, tauren, undead, draenei, gnome, night elf, orc, and troll.
They're a true hybrid class who can tank (brewmaster monks), heal (mistweaver monks), and DPS (windwalker monks). For resources, monks have health, energy (for brewmasters and windwalkers), mana (for mistwalkers), and chi. Chi is unique resource to monks: you have four possible points of it and start combat with zero. Some of your attacks will generate chi while others will use it, meaning monks take careful resource balancing.
Monks can do (almost) anything
You want to tank? Monks can do that with the brewmaster talent specialization. Heal? Try the mistweaver. DPS? That's the windwalker. Monks can do just about everything the game has to offer. This makes the class a great one for players who aren't sure what they want to do in the game or who like to be flexible rather than sticking to one particular game role.
Monks aren't the only hybrid class, it's true: both druids and paladins can also tank, heal, or DPS as well. Even if you aren't keen on a full hybrid class, you can still get flexibility from warriors and death knights (who can both tank and DPS), while priests and shamans (can both heal and DPS). Even pet classes like hunters and warlocks can do some tanking in addition to their usual damage-dealing roles. So, clearly, flexibility isn't the only reason to choose a monk. But if you're looking for flexibility, monks are an excellent option.
Monks are the newest class in the game, which makes them the newest, shiniest toy in our virtual toy box. But they're not just interesting because just because they're new: this is a class that's put together with the latest in Blizzard's thinking on class design and gameplay. And we think most gamers will find the play experience to be at least as good, if not better, than that of any other class because of it.
Monks are a very well thought-out class, and it's very noticeable when you play them. For every bad situation you might find your character in, you'll find that monks have a good way to counter it: they can AOE, stun, silence, heal (and heal by doing damage), reduce their damage taken, easily pull from a distance, and make speedy getaways when they need to. For versatility and flexibility, the monk simply can't be beaten. And, as a monk, it's hard to find a situation in which you'll be over your head.
When we say "level faster," we don't just mean they level some tiny increment faster than other classes. Monks level significantly, noticeably faster than any other class due to their daily class quest. This quest gives them the Enlightenment buff, increasing XP gains by 50% for one hour. The bonus stacks, adding an extra hour to the buff for every time you do the daily, so if you're consistent with your daily quest, you can rack up a good stack of bonus XP.
This will definitely help you catch up with friends and get to running late game dungeons and raids, though it might be a problem if you're leveling up with a friend -- you'll always be a step ahead!
While monks can be a great class, they might not be the greatest for you. We think you'll like playing a monk if:
- You like being in the middle of the action. While they have a few ranged skills, monks are really a melee class that get up close and personal with the bad guys.
- If you're a healer who's tired of staring at health bars and missing all the action, a monk could be just the thing. Because mistweavers do a percentage of their damage as healing, you can wade in to any fight and deal damage -- all the while helping to keep your group alive.
- You like being a jack of all trades, jumping from role to role. You may not be the absolute best at any class role, but you can fill them all well depending on what you feel like doing.
And you might not enjoy playing a monk if:
- You prefer to do your thing from a distance. Monks are front-line fighters who are at their best in the middle of a melee. If you'd rather be ranged, look at druids, hunters, priests, shamans, mages, and warlocks.
- You like stealth gameplay. Rogues are the best way to go if you want stealth, though druids can be stealthy, too.
- You don't like managing multiple resource types. Keeping tabs on chi in addition to your ordinary resources can be a juggling act.
Want to learn more about monks?
If you're curious, but still not sure monk is the class for you, check out these additional resources to learn more about the class:
- Blizzard's official monk information
- Blizzard's monk forums
- Our monk category
- Wowpedia's guide to starting a monk
- Icy Veins monk leveling guide
Just because you're a newbie doesn't mean you can't bring your A-game to World of Warcraft! Visit the WoW Rookie Guide for links to everything you need to get started as a new player, from the seven things every newbie ought to know to how to get started as a healer or as a tank.