World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Monk Level 1-5 Hands-On ImpressionsBy Leah Jackson - Posted Oct 24, 2011
World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria is the fourth expansion coming to the massive MMO hit World of Warcraft. With it comes a ton of new features, a new race called the Pandaren, and a new class: the Monk. You can check out everything that will be included within Mists of Pandaria via our handy World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria overview, but right now it's time to talk all about the Monk.
The Monk, which many are currently referring to as the Kung-Fu Panda class, is the newest class coming to World of Warcraft. It's the first class to be introduced in to the game since World of Warcraft: The Wrath of the Lich King, and I'd honestly say that it's a pretty surprising addition to the game. Monks obviously exist in other Blizzard Entertainment franchises, like Diablo, but for some reason I never thought that it would come to WoW. That said, I'm pleasantly surprised with the integration, and I feel like the Monk in general takes a lot of the best things from Diablo III's Monk class.
At BlizzCon 2011 we tested out the first five levels of the Pandaren Monk, and it was utterly adorable. I'm sorry, but Panda Monks rolling around all over the place is hilarious.
In general, Monks are a leather-wearing melee martial-arts based class who utilize a new regenerating resource called Chi (think Rogue Energy) to use abilities that will generate light and dark force. Monks all start with 100 Chi. This light and dark force will then be used for your other abilities.
Keep in mind that this system isn't even in beta yet, so all of this is subject to change. But, as it stands now, Monks get a little bar in the center of the screen that displays their light and dark force. There is space on the bar for four light force and four dark force. Each ability that a Monk uses requires either Chi or Force.
For example, at level one the Monk gets the Jab ability. Jab costs 40 Chi to use, is an instant attack, and generates one light and one dark force. Monks also get Tiger Palm at level one. Tiger Palm costs one light force and deals 10 physical damage and five additional damage if the foe is above 50 percent health.
So to get the most out of your Monk at level one, you're going to be using a mix of Jab to build up light force and finishing with Tiger Palm by spending that light force. The whole idea is that a Monk is forced to deal with the balance of life, light, and dark, and so on. What you have to do is figure out the perfect balance of Chi abilities versus light force and dark force abilities in order to reach your happy place.
At level three, Monks unlock the incredibly silly Roll ability that kicks up a swirl of dust each time you use it. Roll allows your Monk to, well, roll a short distance, about 10-15 yards, at the cost of 50 Chi. Meaning if you have a full Chi bar you can use Roll twice, as it has no cooldown. Just imagine our BlizzCon demo for a moment, where there were hundreds of Pandaren Monks rolling around all over the questing zone. Hysterical. Rolling is clearly the new superior way of getting around Azeroth. I honestly can't wait to see Gnomes rolling all over the place.
Speaking of Gnomes, not every race in World of Warcraft can be Monks. The only two who can't are the races that were introduced in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm: the Goblin and the Worgen. Blizzard didn't explain why these two races were excluded, but I'm guessing it has to do with their starting experiences being so core to their gameplay that they can't just magically appear in Pandaria all of a sudden to take up Monk training.
Once they get to later levels, Monks have the option of becoming a Brewmaster (tank), Mistweaver (healer), or Windwalker (melee DPS). Since we only got to test out the first five levels of the Monk, we didn't get to try any of these talent specializations, but they sound interesting.
Rolling my way to level four, I unlocked the Blackout Kick ability. It costs two dark force to use, causes 28 damage, and if you kill your opponent with it, you'll get one dark force back. Meaning, if you're skilled, then it only costs one dark force. Blackout Kick has another rather funny Monk animation, but that just might have been due to the fact that watching a panda kick something in the face is hilarious.
At level five, Monks get Flying Serpent Kick. This ability has an 8-40 yard range, is on a 25 second cooldown, and knocks enemies down and stuns them for two seconds. Again, you just have to picture a Pandaren (or Gnome) flying at you and kicking you in the face from 40 yards away. I can't even describe how hilariously awesome this is, and every time I used it, I got the giggles.
With just five levels to mess around with, I already started to get the feel of how the Monk will play in World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria. The gameplay will feel right at home to Warriors and potentially Rogues who are used to building up one sort of resource (Fury or Combo Points) and then having to expend it to deal more damage. Aside from that mechanic, the Monk animations are silly, and I think that the class will fit in perfectly with the other 10 that are already available in the game.
What are your initial impressions of the Monk? Do you think that the new class will have a game-changing impact on World of Warcraft like the Death Knight did?