Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The ranged monk spec

I started a thread in the monk forums asking for ideas for how a ranged monk would work, hoping to get some discussion on the topic. My thread flopped unfortunately. But luckily I have a blog where I can discuss with myself. ;-)

I'm a raid leader, and up until now I've been a ranged DPS. When I set up the team for a raid night my "default" composition is 2 tanks, 3 healers, 3 ranged and 2 melee, sometimes with less tanks/healers. I try to take as few melee as possible, as they're often in disadvantage in fights. For example how ice traps and chains on Stone Guards work, or how much further traveling distance melee players have on Elegon. Some bosses have mechanics were x amount of people have to stay at range, like Yogg'Saron. Other fights have mechanics where only ranged are targeted by certain spells, which can make that a very busy fight for them if they are few. Melee are also often victims of cleaves or other "close to boss"-AOE spells, like on Will of the Emperor. And sometimes things need to be kited and killed, like on the Warmaster Blackhorn boatfight or the parasites on Magmaw (which frost death knights were supposedly good at though).

Knowing all of this, and now starting to raid as a windwalker monk... I feel like I'm doing the wrong decision with open eyes. But I really love playing my monk, and I spend most of my online time playing her. In fact, the longer I play, the more I've started to value playing melee classes. I have to make sure I play what I want, but I kind of feel like I'm screwing over my raid team at the same time.

So I started thinking, both the two newest classes (death knight and monk) to be implemented have had melee specs and no ranged spec. I guess this is because it's easier to make melee classes feeling different from eachother than ranged classes. Or even that it made more sense for the classes; having a martial arts monk not have a melee spec would have been utterly WEIRD. Fighting with your fists, but only at range? No. Just no.

Let's say monks eventually got the druid treatment, and they added a fourth ranged DPS spec;

How would a ranged monk work? Would they deal physical or magical damage? Would they have autoattacks? And most importantly, would it be fun? :)

I picture them dealing physical damage. Or perhaps nature damage, or would that make them too druidy? I'm not sure about the autoattack... Autoattacks come from weapons, and I wouldn't want this ranged monk spec to be a hunter, hunters already exist. It is also highly unlikely that they implement thrown weapons again, just for one class. Although I would love to see the ranged monk throwing ninja stars! Perhaps it could be one of their animations, not as a autoattack from their weapons, but more like "ability throw ninja star". And perhaps a nunchuck-animation for powering up special attacks? They would probably also use Spinning Fire Blossoms, Crackle Jade Lightning and Touch of Karma/Death.

I am not sure I would play this ranged spec. As I said, over the years I've started to value melee combat more and more. I really hope they are able to keep fights as melee/ranged-neutral as possible.

Is this problem worse for 10 than 25 by the way?

Ranged classes: Hunter, Mage, Priest, Warlock (Druid, Shaman)

Melee classes: Monk, Paladin, Death Knight, Warrior, Rogue (Druid, Shaman)



  1. This is sort of fun to think about. Trying to recall what a ranged martial artist would look like, and it pretty much seems like ninja stars. Actually, I could imagine them using bows (like short bows, though that differentiation obviously doesn't exist in WoW) similar to how melee monks use their weapons -- i.e. only for Jab. There are some martial arts movies where the bad guy is a sorcerer-type, so maybe they could use the bow-Jab to generate Chi, then spend it on sorcery things. Or ninja stars, fire blossoms, jade lightning, etc.

  2. I picture it as a zen connection style. You cast a Zen image of yourself near the boss. In essence it is basically a statue like those the healer and tanks use. When in range of the boss, it lets you use your melee abilities while channeling crackling jade lightening. So in much the same way that a mistweaver can instant heal using enveloping mist and surging mist while channeling, you can use your melee abilities while channeling. I would make the melee damage from the stature 50% of the damage you would do if in melee spec, so as to not make it overpowered. Lastly, I would make a touch of death like abilty that does as much damage as you have health and can be cast only during the last 20% of the boss's health with a cd.