Zen Meditation: Is the Legion Mistweaver becoming overly homogenized?

When the Monk Legion class preview debuted, probably the first concern — and rightly so — voiced by Mistweavers questioned whether the specialization would become too similar to other healers. Speaking from experience, I quit my Restoration shaman and my Restoration druid pre-Mists when I felt that healing had become boring for me. It felt like all classes had the same core with maybe one or two things to suit their niches.

With Mists of Pandaria and the introduction of the Mistweaver, the community had great hopes for a healer that would add fresh air to healing with a unique playstyle. And Mistweavers are exactly that — they vary greatly from other healers in interactions and even in niche. But with the removal of Fistweaving, Chi, and changes to their toolkit, will Mistweavers lose their identity?

smv-monk-header

Healing class basics

The majority of healing classes have a few basic spells:

  • Med-large, slow, maybe expensive heal
  • Med-large, quick, expensive heal
  • Small, less expensive heal that may be more mana-efficient over time
  • Raid/group heal
  • Flavor emergency heals with cooldown(s)

Fistweaving introduced a slightly different rotation to how a Mistweaver could approach their gameplay. They could do damage and healing — and actually, it’s a pretty fair amount of damage — or they could stick to “just” healing. This would normally be coating people with as much Renewing Mist as possible, then hitting the raid or party with an Uplift, or zerging someone some life through Soothing Mist with Surging Mist.

So, one could consider the core of Mistweaving healing — even on live right now — to be composed of the following:

  • Med-large, slow, maybe expensive heal: Enveloping Mist (arguably), possibly Soothing Mist. It’s worth noting that Soothing Mist’s healing adds up to a larger heal over time, but the channel takes a very long time. This is combined with having Surging Mist and Enveloping Mist be cast-free during its channel.
  • Med-large, quick, expensive heal: Surging Mist
  • Small, less expensive heal that may be more mana-efficient over time: Renewing Mist
  • Raid/group heal: Uplift
  • Flavor emergency heals with cooldown(s): Thunder Focus Tea, Life Cocoon, Revival

In Legion, the list changes a bit:

  • Med-large, slow, maybe expensive heal: Enveloping Mist (arguably) with any other healing spell, especially when mixed with Soothing Mist, which is now a passive.
  • Med-large, quick, expensive heal: Essence Font.
  • Small, less expensive heal that may be more mana-efficient over time: Renewing Mist, Effuse
  • Raid/group heal: Vivify.
  • Flavor emergency heals with cooldown(s): Thunder Focus Tea, Life Cocoon, Revival

A meditating mistweaver

Chi-less, and more single focus

The other thing to note is that Mistweaver’s identity in general has changed with the removal of Chi as well. It’s a little bit difficult to really classify each heal compared to other classes in the current game, whereas having a mana cost for each heal in Legion makes such classification much easier in Legion.

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Other than Fistweaving, this is probably the largest change in identity that sets Mistweaver apart. Rather than choosing which heals to cast based on Chi and situation, heals would instead be chosen with some of the same thought-process as other healers. Additionally, with Soothing Mist becoming a passive channel and the addition of new spells, Mistweavers have an incredibly beefed up single-target toolkit. It seems that in general, the raid healing spot has been gifted back to Shamans and Druids, and the Monks’ raid healing aspect became gutted with the spammable multi-target heal only hitting 3 people.

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So, Resto Pallyweavers?

With the last statement on the removal of many of our AoE toolkit, one might immediately think that Mistweavers have just become Holy Paladins without the benefits. Unfortunately, that’s simply the by-product of healing roles previously being more niche. They still are, just not to the same extent classically due to the additions of Holy Radiance and such in previous expansions.

When you remove a class’s main raid healing mechanic  — Uplift, in this case, and add in more single-target heals than most people know what to do with, that’s just what happens. They become compared to Holy Paladins, the kings (and queens, and princesses) of single-target healing.

Thus, I would argue that the Mistweaver’s identity change comes more from not the removal of Chi and not even the removal of Fistweaving — though these are both pretty big changes. Rather, it’s the change in the toolkit becoming more of a single-target tank healer, and less of a raid healer. If Mistweaver launches the way it appeared in the last Alpha cycle, they will certainly feel like Holy Paladins with the addition of a Restoration Druid’s HoTs.

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Is this truly bad?

Probably the biggest complaint of many people moving from another healing class to Mistweaver is the fact that it is so very different from classic healer. It creates a much higher learning curve than other specs, and the stance dance is likely a part of that.

This may allow players to more fluidly swap between different healing classes than current design allows. However, one must wonder if the cost is worth it. Healers generally want to be just that — healers. But should the flavor of the class have been forfeited for this? That is something only time spent on alpha will tell.

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