Monk Leveling Guide (MoP 5.4)

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1. Preliminary Mentions↑top

This guide is not meant to be a questing guide. It will explain to you, in detail, how to play your Monk as you level it up: how to spend your talent points, what abilities to use, etc.

1.1. Specialisation Choice

The Windwalker specialisation is, by far, the best choice for leveling up your Monk. It provides you with the ability to dispose of many enemies, with very little or no down-time.

1.2. Questing

The choice between Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms is not very relevant, so you can choose where you wish to level based on personal preference.

When you reach Level 80, you will have the choice between two Cataclysm areas: Vash'jir and Mount Hyjal. Avoid Vash'jir because questing under water as a melee class is really time consuming.

In capital cities, you have a Hero's Call Board, which offers quests and redirects you to questing areas of your level.

As a Windwalker Monk, you should avoid trying to complete quests designed for 3 or more players alone.

1.3. Dungeons

Doing dungeons repeatedly is not an efficient way of leveling. Only do a dungeon once, after you have gathered all the quests for it. For many dungeons in Outland and Northrend, you can take all the related quests by simply queuing for the dungeon.

1.4. Professions

If this is your first character on a server, you should take two gathering professions (or Enchanting). It enables you to gather mats and use them for a crafting profession once you have reached Level 85. If you are worried about running out of bag space, you can simply make an alt character, send all your mats to it, and leave them in that character's mailbox until you need them. Note that after 29 days, the items that are uncollected from the mailbox will be sent back to the sender (so, your Monk, in this case). From this mailbox, 29 days later, the items will be forever deleted, so you cannot make use of this trick indefinitely to store items, but it can be useful while your bag space is limited.

If you take gathering professions, doing dungeons is really bad because it makes you level up without giving you much chance to do any gathering.

1.5. Loot

As a Windwalker Monk, you can either use a Staff or a Polearm, or you can dual-wield One-Handed Axes/Maces/Swords or Fist Weapons.

You will want to only use Leather items with Agility as their main statistic. This becomes especially true after level 50, because you will then gain the Leather Specialization Icon Leather Specialization proficiency.

1.6. PvP

Even on PvP servers, actual PvP fights while leveling up are quite rare. For this reason, we do not insist on PvP-oriented abilities and focus only on PvE-oriented abilities so that you can quest as fast as possible.

1.7. Heirloom Items

If you already have a Level 85 character, you can purchase Heirloom items. These items are bound to your account and you can freely send them from one character to another (the only restriction is that you cannot send them to a character on another realm). The stats that these items give scale with your level and approximately match the items you would get by questing. They also make you gain more experience and the bonus each item gives stacks with the bonus given by your other Heirloom items.

There are two ways to obtain these items: by buying them, with Justice Points, from a Heirloom vendor in Stormwind, Orgrimmar, or Shattrath City or Dalaran, or by buying them, with gold, from a Guild Vendor in a capital city (but your guild must have unlocked these items first by reaching a certain level).

Heirloom vendors provide the following items of interest to Windwalker Monk (you should remove them as soon as you reach level 80):

Guild vendors provide the following items of interest to a Windwalker Monk (you should remove them as soon as you reach Level 85):

1.8. Energy and Chi

1.8.1. Energy

Energy is a resource that Monks share with Rogues and Feral Druids. There are several things you need to know about Energy:

  • Energy is generated passively. The regeneration speed is affected by your haste. Additionally, some abilities grant you Energy.
  • Energy is spent mainly on Chi-generating abilities, most notably Jab Icon Jab.
  • You have a maximum capacity of 100 Energy.
  • Energy never decays. A natural consequence of this is that your normal state is to have a full Energy bar (such as before starting combat).
  • Being at maximum capcaity causes any additional Energy you would generate to be wasted.

1.8.2. Chi

Chi is a Monk-only resource. There are several things you need to know about Chi:

  • Chi is generated by several abilities, the most notable of them being Jab Icon Jab.
  • Chi is spent on many crucial abilities, that are part of your rotation.
  • You have a maximum capacity of 4 Chi (5, if you have the Ascension Icon Ascension talent).
  • Chi decays quickly when outside of combat, but it does not decay while in combat. A natural consequence of this is that, when starting a fight, you will have no Chi.
  • Generating Chi while you are at maximum capacity will cause the new Chi to be wasted. The only exception to this is the Chi generated thanks to the Power Strikes Icon Power Strikes talent, which spawns a Chi sphere each time your Chi would be wasted. The sphere grants you 1 Chi when you walk over it.

1.9. Peak of Serenity

At level 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, and 80, you will be offered a Monk-specific quest. You will have to travel to the Peak of Serenity in Kun-Lai Summit in order to complete the quest. This is made easy by an ability called Zen Pilgrimage Icon Zen Pilgrimage (gained at level 20), which teleports you there and then back to your original location.

After completing the quest offered at level 20, you will also be offered a daily quest, also located at the Peak of Serenity.

Completing any of the quests (the regular and the daily quests) will provide you with a 1-hour buff called Enlightenment Icon Enlightenment, which increases the experience you gain from killing enemies and completing quests by 50%. This will greatly speed up your leveling process.

2. Levels 1 to 9↑top

At Level 1 and 2, all you can do is use Jab Icon Jab to damage targets.

At Level 3 you gain Tiger Palm Icon Tiger Palm. This is a Chi finisher, and you should use this to spend the Chi that Jab Icon Jab generates. Using Tiger Palm will also stack Tiger Power Icon Tiger Power on you, which causes your attacks to ignore the target's armor. Whenever possible, you should try to keep this buff active.

At Level 5 you gain Roll Icon Roll. This is very useful for moving around, and you should make extensive use of it.

At Level 7 you gain Blackout Kick Icon Blackout Kick. This is another Chi finisher, which does more damage than Tiger Palm. You should use this to spend Chi, whenever you don't need to refresh Tiger Palm Icon Tiger Palm.

3. Levels 10-19↑top

So far, your gameplay consists of spamming Jab Icon Jab and Blackout Kick Icon Blackout Kick on targets, while also keeping up your Tiger Power Icon Tiger Power buff. You should also be making extensive use of Roll Icon Roll.

At Level 10 you can choose your specialisation. You should choose Windwalker. This will grant you a new ability and two new mechanics:

  • Fists of Fury Icon Fists of Fury is a channeled Chi finisher with a 25 second cooldown. It deals damage to multiple targets in front of you, also stunning them. This is a very strong ability, which you should use on cooldown.
  • Tiger Strikes Icon Tiger Strikes is a passive ability that sometimes causes you to gain an increased attack speed. It is just a passive benefit that you don't need to worry about.
  • Dual Wield Icon Dual Wield allows you to equip one-handed weapons in your off-hand.

At Level 14 you gain Provoke Icon Provoke. This is a taunt, which you can use to pull mobs from a distance to you (assuming that they are not casters). As an added benefit, the mob will move 50% faster when coming towards you, which will greatly speed up your questing.

At Level 15 you gain a new talent point. We recommend Celerity Icon Celerity, although it does not really matter which talent you choose, as long as you make use of it in your questing.

At Level 18 you gain two new abilities:

  • Flying Serpent Kick Icon Flying Serpent Kick is extremely useful for helping you move around even faster, from one quest mob to another.
  • Resuscitate Icon Resuscitate allows you resurrect dead allies, which is useful if you are questing with other players, or doing dungeons.

4. Levels 20 to 29↑top

So far, your gameplay should be as follows:

You should also be making frequent use of Roll Icon Roll and Flying Serpent Kick Icon Flying Serpent Kick to move around.

At Level 20 you gain two active abilities and one passive ability:

  • Detox Icon Detox allows you to remove Poison and Disease effects from yourself or another ally. It will sometimes come in handy during questing.
  • Zen Pilgrimage Icon Zen Pilgrimage teleports you to the Peak of Serenity, where there is a Monk trainer and various quest NPCs. Casting the spell again teleports you back to your original location. This spell is very useful for helping you complete the Monk-specific quests we mentioned at the start of the guide.
  • Combat Conditioning Icon Combat Conditioning causes your Blackout Kick Icon Blackout Kick to heal you for 20% of your maximum health, each time you attack an enemy with it from the front. In case you use it to attack an enemy from the back, something which is unlikely while questing, it will deal 20% additional damage to the target, in the form of a 4-second DoT.

At Level 22 you gain 2 new abilities:

  • Touch of Death Icon Touch of Death is an ability that instantly kills any target that has equal or less health than you. It is restricted by a 90 second cooldown, but it is still extremely powerful, and it will help you greatly while questing.
  • Touch of Karma Icon Touch of Karma is a cooldown that causes all damage dealt to you to be redirected to the enemy target. It lasts 6 seconds. You should use this whenever you are fighting enemies that deal considerable damage to you.

At Level 24 you gain Fortifying Brew Icon Fortifying Brew. This is a defensive cooldown that increases your maximum health by 20%, and reduces all damage taken by 20%, for 20 seconds. You should use it whenever you are in danger of dying.

At Level 25 you unlock a Major and Minor glyph slot. While many Major Glyphs will offer you various slight benefits, we do not consider any of them to be particularly important or helpful while leveling up. We do, however, recommend Glyph of Water Roll Icon Glyph of Water Roll, a Minor Glyph.

At Level 26 you gain an active and a passive ability:

  • Expel Harm Icon Expel Harm is a spell that costs Energy and generates Chi, just like Jab Icon Jab. However, unlike Jab, Expel Harm also heals you, and causes 50% of the amount healed to be done as damage to a nearby enemy (the spell is not targeted). You should use Expel Harm instead of Chi whenever you are lacking health.
  • Afterlife Icon Afterlife grants you a 50% chance to summon a Healing Sphere each time you kill an enemy. It also grants you a 50% chance to summon a Chi sphere each time you kill an enemy with Blackout Kick Icon Blackout Kick. These spheres spawn next to you, and grant you health and Chi, respectively, when you walk over them. The healing spheres in particular will be a great way for you to keep your health up while going from mob to mob.

At Level 28 you gain Disable Icon Disable. This spell reduces the movement speed of an enemy target by 50%, and, if used again on the same target, roots it for 8 seconds. This spell is largely useless to you while leveling up.

5. Levels 30 to 39↑top

So far, your gameplay should be as follows:

You should also be making frequent use of Roll Icon Roll and Flying Serpent Kick Icon Flying Serpent Kick to move around, and of Provoke Icon Provoke to bring enemies to you.

To aid your survival, make sure to use Expel Harm Icon Expel Harm and Fortifying Brew Icon Fortifying Brew, and to be mindful of the healing spheres that spawn each time you kill an enemy.

At Level 30 you gain a new talent point. We recommend Chi Wave Icon Chi Wave, which you can use to heal yourself (and deal some damage). The other two options are also good, although Zen Sphere Icon Zen Sphere is probably the worst choice.

At Level 32 you gain Spear Hand Strike Icon Spear Hand Strike. This is a single target interrupt, which you can use whenever you are fighting a caster mob, to reduce the damage you take.

At Level 36 you gain Energizing Brew Icon Energizing Brew. This is a cooldown that grants you 60 Energy over the course of 6 seconds. You should use this whenever you are low on Energy (but make sure not to waste it, such as when your target is almost dead and there is other target nearby).

6. Levels 40 to 49↑top

So far, your gameplay should be as follows:

You should also be making frequent use of Roll Icon Roll and Flying Serpent Kick Icon Flying Serpent Kick to move around, and of Provoke Icon Provoke to bring enemies to you.

To aid your survival, make sure to use Expel Harm Icon Expel Harm, your tier 2 talent, and Fortifying Brew Icon Fortifying Brew, and to be mindful of the healing spheres that spawn each time you kill an enemy.

At Level 44 you gain Paralysis Icon Paralysis. This is a crowd control that incapacitates an enemy target for 30 seconds. It is broken by damage. You can use this if you have accidentally pulled too many enemies and you wish to take one of them out of the fight while you deal with the others.

At Level 45 you gain a new talent point. We recommend Power Strikes Icon Power Strikes or Chi Brew Icon Chi Brew, both of which increase the amount of Chi you generate. Power Strikes works passively, so it will probably be easier for you to use.

Also at level 45 you gain Adaptation Icon Adaptation, which is a passive ability that increases your chance to dodge while you are disarmed. You should not concern yourself with this.

At Level 46 you gain Spinning Crane Kick Icon Spinning Crane Kick. This is a channeled AoE attack, that generates Chi when it hits 3 or more targets. You can use this when you are fighting 3 or more enemies, but otherwise you should never use it.

7. Levels 50 to 59↑top

So far, your gameplay should be as follows:

Remember to take advantage of your tier 3 talent of choice.

You should also be making frequent use of Roll Icon Roll and Flying Serpent Kick Icon Flying Serpent Kick to move around, and of Provoke Icon Provoke to bring enemies to you.

To aid your survival, make sure to use Expel Harm Icon Expel Harm, your tier 2 talent, and Fortifying Brew Icon Fortifying Brew, and to be mindful of the healing spheres that spawn each time you kill an enemy.

At Level 50 you gain Leather Specialization Icon Leather Specialization. This increases your Agility by 5% if you use only Leather Armor.

Additionally, at level 50, you unlock one new Major and Minor Glyph slots. There are no glyphs that we recommend for this, but you are free to browse your own glyphs and choose something that you like.

At Level 54 you gain Crackling Jade Lightning Icon Crackling Jade Lightning. This is a channeled ranged attack that deals damage to the target, and each tick has a 25% chance to generate 1 Chi. If the enemy attacks you while this spell is being channeled, they will be knocked back slightly. Generally speaking, you should never use this spell. There are some instances, however, where it can be useful, such as when an enemy runs away from you when on low health, or when an enemy is in an otherwise unreachable location.

At Level 56 you gain two very important abilities:

  • Rising Sun Kick Icon Rising Sun Kick is a very powerful ability, which deals a large amount of damage to the target. It also debuffs the target (and other enemies within 8 yards), causing them to take increased damage from you for 15 seconds. This ability becomes a staple of your playstyle.
  • Tigereye Brew Icon Tigereye Brew (and the accompanying passive ability Brewing: Tigereye Brew Icon Brewing: Tigereye Brew is a bit more complex. For each 4 Chi you spend, you get a stacking buff. When you use Tigereye Brew, the stacks are consumed, increasing your damage done by 2% per stack, for 15 seconds. You should try to use this ability as often as possible. Ideally, you should keep your stacks until you reach 8-10 (10 is the maximum), and then use it on a new mob, so that you benefit from the increased damage for the entire duration.

8. Levels 60 to 69↑top

So far, your gameplay should be as follows:

Remember to take advantage of your tier 3 talent of choice, and to use Tigereye Brew Icon Tigereye Brew.

You should also be making frequent use of Roll Icon Roll and Flying Serpent Kick Icon Flying Serpent Kick to move around, and of Provoke Icon Provoke to bring enemies to you.

To aid your survival, make sure to use Expel Harm Icon Expel Harm, your tier 2 talent, and Fortifying Brew Icon Fortifying Brew, and to be mindful of the healing spheres that spawn each time you kill an enemy.

At Level 60 you gain a new talent point. We recommend Leg Sweep Icon Leg Sweep, which allows you to stun enemies around you.

9. Levels 70-79↑top

So far, your gameplay should be as follows:

Remember to take advantage of your tier 3 talent of choice, and to use Tigereye Brew Icon Tigereye Brew.

You should also be making frequent use of Roll Icon Roll and Flying Serpent Kick Icon Flying Serpent Kick to move around, and of Provoke Icon Provoke to bring enemies to you.

To aid your survival, make sure to use Expel Harm Icon Expel Harm, your tier 2 talent, and Fortifying Brew Icon Fortifying Brew, and to be mindful of the healing spheres that spawn each time you kill an enemy.

At Level 75 you gain a new talent point. We recommend Healing Elixirs Icon Healing Elixirs. This will provide you with passive healing each time you use Tigereye Brew Icon Tigereye Brew, Energizing Brew Icon Energizing Brew, Chi Brew Icon Chi Brew (if you have taken this talent), and Fortifying Brew Icon Fortifying Brew.

You also gain a new Major and a new Minor glyph slot at level 75, but, as we established, this is not very relevant to you.

10. Levels 80 to 89↑top

So far, your gameplay should be as follows:

Remember to take advantage of your tier 3 talent of choice, and to use Tigereye Brew Icon Tigereye Brew.

You should also be making frequent use of Roll Icon Roll and Flying Serpent Kick Icon Flying Serpent Kick to move around, and of Provoke Icon Provoke to bring enemies to you.

To aid your survival, make sure to use Expel Harm Icon Expel Harm, your tier 2 talent, and Fortifying Brew Icon Fortifying Brew, and to be mindful of the healing spheres that spawn each time you kill an enemy.

At Level 80, you gain Mastery: Bottled Fury Icon Mastery: Bottled Fury. This is a passive ability that increases the efficiency of your Tigereye Brew Icon Tigereye Brew, and you do not really need to worry about it.

At Level 81 you gain Legacy of the White Tiger Icon Legacy of the White Tiger. This is a party/raid-wide buff, which increases Strength, Agility, and Intellect by 5%. You should always have this active.

At Level 82 you gain Zen Meditation Icon Zen Meditation. This is a channeled ability that reduces all damage taken by 90% for 8 seconds, but being hit by a melee attack cancels the effect. This spell will be mostly useless to you as you level up.

At Level 87 you gain Transcendence Icon Transcendence. This spell allows you to leave a copy of yourself behind, at your current location. You can then use Transcendence: Transfer Icon Transcendence: Transfer (which you also gain at level 87) to return to the location of your copy. This spell can prove useful in some situations, but overall you will not be using it often.

At Level 90 you gain another talent point. You will probably find Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger Icon Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger to be the most useful talent in this tier, and you should use this ability against any powerful enemies you encounter.

11. Levels 90 to 100↑top

So far, your gameplay should be as follows:

Against 3 or more enemies, you can use Spinning Crane Kick Icon Spinning Crane Kick to generate Chi instead of Jab Icon Jab.

Below, we will quickly list your important DPS cooldowns, survival abilities, and the leveling perks you will gain between level 90 and 100.

11.1. Cooldowns

Ability Usage
Energizing Brew Icon Energizing Brew Use on cooldown, as long as you will not reach maximum Energy
Tigereye Brew Icon Tigereye Brew Use whenever you have 10 stacks or more of the buff, or delay for more burst damage

11.2. Survival

Ability Usage
Fortifying Brew Icon Fortifying Brew Reduces incoming damage, and increases maximum health; use as needed

11.3. Perks

At levels 92, 94, 96, and 98 you will receive one of 4 perks, in random order. Below, we list the perks and quickly mention how they affect your playstyle.

Perk Effect
Enhanced Roll Icon Enhanced Roll Increased Roll Icon Roll travel speed; mostly inconsequential
Enhanced Transcendence Icon Enhanced Transcendence Reduces Transcendence Icon Transcendence cooldown by 35 seconds and makes Transcendence: Transfer Icon Transcendence: Transfer instant cast; mostly inconsequential
Empowered Chi Icon Empowered Chi Increases maximum Chi by 1; makes the gameplay slightly easier
Empowered Spinning Crane Kick Icon Empowered Spinning Crane Kick Spinning Crane Kick Icon Spinning Crane Kick deals its damage faster, but also lasts less; no effect on your gameplay

As a level 100 Monk, you have an option between three different specialisations, and we provide you with a comprehensive raiding guide for each of them: