At level 7, you'll unlock Blackout Kick
, which costs 2 chi but hits more than twice as hard as Tiger Palm. I dropped Tiger Palm completely off my bars at this point. A few more levels, and you'll reach level 10 and your big decision -- specialization. (If you're not sure which specialization you'd like to pursue, check out my "So you'd like to play ..." guides for brewmasters
, and windwalkers
.) For ease of questing, I'd recommend windwalker, and that'll be the spec I follow for the rest of this guide.
Selecting windwalker will immediately grant you Fists of Fury
, a very powerful channeled attack. From here on out, you'll want to Jab twice and immediately launch into FoF, which will typically be enough to kill most quest mobs by itself. It's got a cooldown, though, so you'll still need to use Blackout Kick in between to kill stuff. Levels 11 to 20
For this tier, you'll still have lots of baseline abilities to get. At level 14, you'll receive Provoke
, which is the monk's taunt ability. Even though all specs receive it, you'll likely only use this in desperate situations as a non-brewmaster, since the increased speed the enemy receives makes "taunt kiting" very difficult. Then at 15, you'll have your first talent choice, all of which involve movement in some way. For leveling, my personal preference is Momentum
to shorten walk times, but Celerity
is good as well.
Next up are two utility spells, Resuscitate
. Resuscitate allows you to bring dead players back to life when out of combat (always handy), and Detox allows you to remove harmful poison and disease effects from yourself or other players. (A mistweaver Detox will also remove magical effects.) With the new 8-second cooldown on all dispels across the board, it's very likely that windwalkers and brewmasters will be pressed into service for dispel-heavy encounters, but you won't have to worry about that while leveling.
While most of the abilities you receive early on are baseline, there are several windwalker exclusives as well. At level 18, you get Flying Serpent Kick
, which is quite possibly my most favorite ability in the entire game. Click the button, and you go zooming
off at epic flying mount speed. Click it again, and you land with a great animation, doing a little damage as well. (True story: I was competing with a couple other players in Valley of the Four Winds for quest mob spawns when one spawned off in the distance. They started mounting up; I hit Flying Serpent Kick. Five seconds later, they'd barely covered half the distance on their ground mounts and I was already launching into my Fists of Fury.)
At level 20, you get a really sweet teleport called Zen Pilgrimage
. This ability teleports you to the Peak of Serenity in Pandaria, an area that has class trainers, profession trainers, and a new class quest every 10 levels. It's like a death knight's Death Gate
-- but livelier. You'll also pick up Combat Conditioning
, another windwalker exclusive that causes your Blackout Kick to do extra damage or healing, depending on your orientation. (It can be glyphed
to just have the extra damage, if you prefer.) Oh, and don't forget to get your mount! Levels 21 to 30
First up, you'll receive two more baseline abilities, Legacy of the Emperor
, which is a buff identical to a paladin's Blessing of Kings
, and Touch of Death
. ToD is very cool because it allows you to instakill an enemy with lower health than you; the downside is it requires 3 chi, which typically means you'll have already half-killed an enemy by the time you can use it. Still fun, though, especially because it also interacts with your level 24 ability, Fortifying Brew
. While Fortifying Brew is designed to be used as an "oh, crap" damage reduction ability, its 20% health buff pushes the Touch of Death threshold just a bit higher.
You'll also get another Touch ability here that's a windwalker exclusive, Touch of Karma
. This is sort of like warriors' Spell Reflection
, but way better; this reflects all
damage you take for 10 seconds. Now, good PvPers will quickly learn to recognize the spell effect and back off, but you're about to ruin XxPwnYrFcexX's day, which is perfectly fine with me.
Rounding out the baseline abilities, you'll pick up Expel Harm
at level 26. This ability should instantly hit your bars, because it heals you for a decent amount, does that amount of damage to an enemy target, and
generates chi. One thing to note, though, is that it has to heal you to do damage, but it will
still generate chi regardless. You'll also pick up Afterlife
here, a simple passive that causes healing or chi spheres to occasionally proc when you kill an enemy. Finally, you get Disable
at level 28, which is essentially the monk's version of Hamstring
. (Yes, they stole Improved Hamstring
from warriors, too.)
At last, you'll reach level 30. You'll get dual spec
here, so if windwalker's getting boring, feel free to try one of the other specs for a while. While this milestone doesn't come with any new abilities, you'll open up your second tier of talents, which are all skills that combine damage and healing. While I love Chi Burst's
visual effect, Zen Sphere
is your best bet for solo questing, since it lets you turn excess chi into healing on the move.
Next week, we'll cover the rest of the path to 90. Keep on kicking!
It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in
Mists of Pandaria,
World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!