Zylan the Brewmaster

I enjoy Khadon, and still RP on him. I play him daily doing the things I need to do to unlock flying, and he is still my main for role-play in the Wolfmane Tribe that I joined (which still has regular weekly events).

But, as far as actually playing, I’m finding him a bit boring. It was fun at first being able to run into a pack of mobs, round up a dozen or more, and swipe/thrash them all down it seconds.  It makes questing pretty quick, it makes farming leatherworking a breeze, and it makes tanking dungeons and stuff very easy…to the point of being almost boring.

Here is how druid tanking works:
Run up to the boss/pack and swipe. Sometimes I charge in. Moonfire, because Thrash does more damage with the moonfire dot on, then Thrash whenever it’s on cooldown, swipe as a filler, mangle when on cooldown. With your rage you either use Ironfur for mitigation or Maul for more damage, depending on the situation. That’s really it. You’ve got some utility, frenzied regeneration to get back health, survival instincts and/or barkskin when big damage is coming in, but 90% of the time it’s thrash, mangle, swipe and taunting when needed, and ironfur when needed.

I’m not an expert player by any means, so when I do dungeons/raids they are usually on low difficulty, and that may be part of the problem, that I’m not challenging myself with harder content.  But even if it were harder, the above rotation doesn’t change really. What changes is needing to know the mechanics of the fight and acting accordingly. But mostly what I am doing is low level PvE and questing, and I’ve been getting kind of bored.

I saw a post on the forums about Brewmasters being really unique, and then someone who does WoW videos on youtube that I watch posted a video about the Brewmaster. I watched it, as I watch most of his stuff, and I was immediately enthralled.

I’ve only been playing Brewmaster for a few days now, I’m only level 104, but already I am finding it a challenge and fun.

Here is how Brewmaster Tanking works:
It’s all about the brews, fittingly enough. Brewmasters have a few, but the important ones are Ironskin Brew and Purifying Brew and a neat passive ability called Stagger.

Most other tanks rely on lots of HP (druid) or lots of heavy armor (everyone else) along with some damage mitigation or self healing. Monks are unique in that they rely on a passive ability called Stagger.  How this works is simple: when you take damage, you take 60% of that damage right then and there, the remaining 40% is turned into a DoT on you that does that damage over time. This is unique to Brewmasters, and talents and skills effect Stagger and the 60/40 percentage.

Ironskin Brew increases the amount that you stagger. So instead of taking 60% and staggering 40% over time, Ironskin means you take 25% and stagger 75%.

Now, it’s the same amount of damage either way, but staggering it makes it easier for healers to heal you, because your HP doesn’t suddenly drop drastically. It can be difficult if a healer heals you up and yet you’re still slowly inching down, might make them panic, but if they know how it works they can actually relax because they know they have time to heal you because it’s a slow tick.

You also have Purifying brew, which actually removes 40% of your stagger.

So, lets say you take a hit that is 100,000 damage. If you’ve got Ironskin Brew up, you take 25,000 immediately and 75,000 becomes your stagger dot.  If you then use Purifying Brew, you get rid of 40% which is 30k, and your Stagger will only hit you for 45k.

Numbers wise, it doesn’t seem like a lot, you only actually get rid of 30k damage, the rest you take. Survival Instincts on a druid removes 50% of the damage you take for 6 seconds. But the benefit really comes from the stagger. You’re a lot easier to heal when the damage is a slow ticking dot.

That isn’t everything I am finding fun however. Another thing is weaving your abilities. Some abilities actually do more damage if you don’t repeat them, so it’s less efficient to use the same ability twice. One talent called Black Out Combo gives you different effects based on the order of abilities. If you use black-out strike and then tiger palm, tiger palm does 200% damage. If you use black out strike and then keg smash, it reduces the cool downs on your brews by 2 seconds, things like that.

Now this may actually be beyond my skills, but it’s like playing chess. If you know what’s coming you can plan for it. For example, if you know a big hit is coming in 8 seconds due to deadly boss mods telling you that, but your ironskin brew has 10 seconds before it’s back up, you can do black out strike and then keg smash and get ironskin off just in time. That’s a poor example, but the point is that you can plan ahead and manipulate your abilities for the situation.

It is so much more interesting and complex than swipe/thrash/mangle on a druid, and hitting survival instincts before damage and frenzied regen after. The idea that using different abilities in certain combos does different things is just fun, and I honestly wish it was a bit more complex than that, like we had more complex combos that could have different effects. But any more complicated and I might not be able to play it.

I am still working on mastering it. Apparently it is possible to keep Ironskin Brew up almost 100% of the time, and you need to know right when to use Purifying Brew for the best results. I got an addon that shows my Stagger DoT as a percentage of my health, so I know when to use Purifying Brew to it’s best advantage.

Beyond that, the class fantasy of Monks is something I like. I love the way my monk stands with her staff resting on her shoulder. I love the lore of pandaren, and the flavor of the Brewmaster spec with brews and hurling flaming kegs of ale around. The animation for Keg Smash is one of my favorites in the game. Toss a wooden barrel and watch as it explodes in wood fragments and ale splashes.

I created a TRP for Zylan, making her a traveling Brewmaster out to see the world and explore, someone who loves mixing herbs be it as food, brews or potions, the combining of various ingredients fascinates her. How some herbs combined in one way to make a delicious meal could be combined another way to make a deadly poison.

Appearance wise I am a bit annoyed that there aren’t a whole lot of good looking monk sets.

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I’ve managed to cobble together a decent one, but it’s not as monk-ish as I would like.

I am working towards one that has cloth wraps around the hands and feet, and then not entirely sure what I’d do for the chest/leg armor. But the pieces I want aren’t easy to get.

I made a TRP for Zylan but I am not entirely sure I’ll RP on her.  She may become my main in terms of doing content, we’ll see. It’s true I’m not super happy with the direction Khadon took. It’s clear that big dumb brute isn’t my forte.

For now, I’ll be getting on Khadon to keep farming flying, and probably focus on him to finish the Suramar quests and rep grinds, but once flying is unlocked I’ll switch to focusing more on Zylan 90% of the time, and switch to Khadon just for RP. Or maybe I’ll find a guild where Zylan would feel welcome.

In the meantime, I’m having a lot of fun with Brewmaster and find myself missing Zy when I’ve got to be on Khadon for RP or world quest grinds.

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