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Artifact Series: Monk

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Triple backflip into a double roll, fly across the room and then lash out with a vicious kick. Could this class literally be any more fun? It's the Monks!

 

Before we get started with our acrobatic friends, let's make sure you haven't missed any of your other favourite classes:

Without further ado, let's check out the specialisations available to the Monks:

  • Brewmaster uses the well-known powers of liquid courage to avoid damage and ensure that their allies are well protected.
  • Mistweaver takes a more traditional stance on battle, using ancient martial arts and medicines to ensure that their allies are healed.
  • Windwalker is the brawler of the three, with martial arts abilities unmatched by any others.

Brewmaster Monk - Fu Zan, the Wanderer's Companion 

 

An interesting name no doubt, let's take a look at what the story behind it is:

 

"Long ago, as the titanic watcher Keeper Freya set out to populate the world with life, she placed one of the first seeds in Pandaria. From it grew Fu Zan, the first, and all of Pandaria's forests descended from it. Before populating the rest of Azeroth, Freya fashioned a walking stick for her travels from one of Fu Zan’s branches. Eventually Freya passed her staff to the Jade Serpent, Yu’lon, who later gave it to a uniquely clever hozen. The Monkey King, as he was called, hung his most prized possessions from the staff, which he carries with him to this day." (source)

 

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This backstory really does have everything, doesn't it? A titan watcher, an August Celestial and one of the legends of Pandaria. Let's start off with the watcher, Freya, and who she was. As one of the watchers of Ulduar, she was tasked with protecting the prison of the old god, Yogg-Saron. She initially resided in the Temple of Life before Loken, one of the watchers, rebelled. 

 

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The remnants of Freya's temple, found in the Storm Peaks.

 

After Loken's betrayals, Freya's temple was destroyed and she now resides within The Conservatory of Life, in Ulduar, corrupted by Yogg-Saron. Her strong affinity to nature and life made her attempt to populate Azeroth with natural essences. She went on to plant one of the first seeds located in Pandaria, from which the first tree grew - Fu Zan.

 

She took from the tree a single branch and fashioned a walking stick, to ensure that she would make it through her travels. After years of use, Freya decided it was time to pass the walking stick on to the August Celestial, Yu'lon.

 

Yu'lon is known as the Jade Serpent and acts as the spirit of wisdom in Pandaria. The story behind Yu'lon is actually rather sad, spanning back to the conquest of Pandaria. When Lei Shen, the Mogu King, began his conquest, he and the mogu ended up capturing the four August Celestials: Xuen, Yu'lon, Niuzao and Chi-Ji.

 

Yu'lon evaded captivity for the longest out of the four Celestials, but was eventually brought down out of the skies by Lei Shen. She was gravely wounded, but the Pandaren miners hid her underground from the prying eyes of the Mogu. Touched by the Pandaren's actions, she infused the surrounding stone with her magic. 

 

She eventually requested that the Pandaren build a statue of her; they worked over hundreds of years to fulfill her request, but Yu'lon was still extremely wounded. When they finished the work, she eventually gave her last breath and passed away.

 

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The current statue of Yu'lon, found in Pandaria.

 

The Pandaren mourned her, but the statue eventually began to move. Yu'lon used the statue to reincarnate herself, still going through the process when she is weakened in the present day.

 

Yu'lon, as the spirit of wisdom, understood the value of wisdom. She chose a uniquely intelligent Hozen as the next wielder of the branch of Fu Zan. This Hozen was in fact the Monkey King, a close companion of Emperor Shaohao.

 

It is from the Monkey King that it seems we will be obtaining the Brewmaster artifact, but I do wonder why it was Yu'lon that was mentioned in the lore. Traditionally, when looking at Brewmaster lore, Niuzao was the "tank" Celestial. He was present as the patron of the tank cloak in Mists of Pandaria, he was present on tanking trinkets, there are even a number of Brewmaster-only moves that relate to the Ox. So why is it that Yu'lon was mentioned in the lore?

 

Yu'lon traditionally stands as the matron of wisdom on Pandaria, but has never been linked to the style of fighting for Brewmasters, nor any of their items and spells.

 

Alternative Artifacts for Brewmaster Monks

 

The Weapons of Chen Stormstout

 

Arguably one of the most well-known monks in the game, I feel like we've got a big missed opportunity here. The entire story behind Chen is actually amazing, but the majority of players only know him from the Mists of Pandaria expansion.

 

Chen was a martial arts expert during his early years, training each day with his friend, Strongbo. They would spar with each other all day, but Chen would occasionally drift off and just spend the day dreaming. Chen was never complacent on the Wandering Isle, but it was almost sacrilege to suggest that a Pandaren might leaving the Isle.

 

Strongbo and Chen eventually grew so talented in martial arts that they were to compete for the spot of master in the martial arts school. On the day of the challenge, Chen never showed up. He fled the Isle in search of what he truly wanted: adventure.

 

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He ended up on the continent of Kalimdor, eventually making his way to Durotar. Chen was a skilled martial artist, but he was more concerned with becoming a master of brewmaking. He had planned yet another brew, but was unable to get the ingredients himself. He eventually met another wanderer, in the form of Rexxar, the Beastmaster.

 

Rexxar retrieved the ingredients for Chen, but when he was offered the brew by Chen, he couldn't believe how strong the mix was. Chen realised his recipe needed some alterations, but that could wait. He volunteered to join Rexxar's journey and adventures.

 

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Rexxar tries some of Chen's brew.

 

Chen eventually found himself on Theramore Island, sent on a secret mission to try and understand why the humans were still attacking the Horde. On this mission, the group ended up meeting Jaina Proudmoore. Her father, at the time, was ordering the attacks on the Horde. She was disgusted with the atrocities he had committed, and so offered her aid.

 

They ended up defending Thrall and Durotar from the skrimishes put forward by the Kul Tiras army, but the main event was their counter-attack. They moved swiftly and put an end to the life of the great Grand Admiral, Daelin Proudmoore.

 

Chen ended up staying independent from the Horde and Alliance, instead acting as a wanderer, pledging allegiance to neither. He is a neutral entity with a very rare attribute: he is a Pandaren, traditionally trained in martial arts and brewmaking, but his history is still very strongly intertwined with that of the two player factions.

 

I think a combination of a barrel and weapon could have been an extremely cool way to give the Brewmasters an artifact, while still presenting an amazing story with Chen. He undoubtedly has the ability to weaponise his brews, so perhaps a 2-handed weapon with a completely customisable barrel skin for certain spells would have been possible.

 

Mistweaver Monk - Sheilun, Staff of Mists

 

Mistweavers using a staff of mist? That sounds more like it! Let's check out the story:

 

"During last pandaren emperor's reign, a prophecy arose that a ruthless Legion would invade the world of Azeroth and leave it shattered. To save his people, Emperor Shaohao embarked on a series of trials, taking with him the ancient staff Sheilun. Afterwards, he used his newfound wisdom to become part of the land. He made Pandaria into a separate continent and enshrouded it in mist to protect it. His staff clattered to the ground, where it lay until the monks of Tian Monastery found it and took it to the Terrace of Endless Spring for safekeeping." (source)

 

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For those of you that played during Mists of Pandaria, you most likely spent more than enough time on the Timeless Isle to realise who Emperor Shaohao is. For those of you that don't, he was the last emperor of Pandaria and is one of the most significant characters in Pandaren legend.

 

His story takes us back to a time before the Legion invaded Azeroth, to a time before the War of the Ancients. A prophecy was given, by a Jinyu waterspeaker, that a great power would invade and ruin the world as it was known. Shaohao took it upon himself to act as the saviour of his people; after hearing the prophecy, he climbed Mount Neverest, weathering the bitter cold and shearing winds, with only his robes for protection.

 

When he reached the summit, he found peace for the first time since being made emperor. He spoke to the Jade Serpent, Yu'lon, who told him that he must purify his spirit and become one with the land. He meditated on her counsel, thinking of her words, but he simply couldn't understand them.

 

It was actually his comrade, the Monkey King, who helped him in his path. The Monkey King created masks which enabled Emperor Shaohao to create physical forms of his fear, doubt, anger, despair, hatred and violence. He traveled to the temples of the Celestials, purging himself of every negative emotion.

 

Eventually, the day came when the Legion arrived and Shaohao assured his people they were not in danger. He went to the Terrace of Endless Springs and attempted to separate Pandaria from the other continents, but he found himself unable.

 

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Shaohao becomes one with Pandaria.

 

He couldn't understand what had gone wrong, he had cleansed his spirit just as Yu'lon had told him to do. The Sha that had been created began seeping into the world again and Shaohao feared he had lost everything. He cried out to Yu'lon for aid, but she only reminded him of that which he had forgotten. 

 

Everything on Pandaria was a part of the land, just as the Pandaren were. Shaohao remembered the walls erected around the Pandaren areas and realised his faults. His last emotion, pride, was finally removed from his spirit. He recognised the Mantid as equals to the Pandaren and his spirit began to seep into the land. His robes and staff fell where he had stood, left there until monks came to claim the staff. They kept it hidden until the time was right for another to wield it.

 

A great mist enveloped Pandaria, keeping it safe until the Horde and Alliance stumble upon it in the expansion, Mists of Pandaria.

 

While there is no particular mention of there being any regenerative powers on Shaohao's behalf, I do think the staff is a good choice for the Mistweavers. Shaohao symbolises the act of helping others, which is essentially what the healers do. They practice certain martial arts in an attempt to help others and keep them safe. There is also, of course, the fact that Shaohao literally wove mist to help his people. Technically, he's a mist-weaver!

 

It's an interesting choice, but I like it. I don't think you can really choose another artifact, since there simply isn't a notable Mistweaver in the lore. The only other possibility is a direct relation to the Celestial, Chi-Ji, but I actually think this works better.

 

Windwalker Monk - Fists of the Heavens

 

I'm already happy that they have chosen fist weapons, but let's hope they are the right kind! Let's take a look:

 

"Thousands of years ago, the famed tol'vir smith Irmaat crafted a pair of magnificent handblades. Unsatisfied with his work, Irmaat tried to capture the essence of Al'Akir the Windlord to infuse into his blades. Al'Akir was not amused. To spite the smith, Al'Akir poured unspeakable amounts of raw elemental fury into the handblades. When Irmaat attempted to unleash their might, a great vortex sprang up, engulfed his city, and scattered the weapons to the winds." (source)

 

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The first thing that really jumps out at me here is, well, Shaman. This really doesn't feel like a monk weapon, but let's take a look anyway.

 

Irmaat has actually been mentioned before, namely in regards to the djinn of the Four Winds. These djinn are generally referred to as the lieutenants of Al'Akir; they were each given a weapon crafted by Irmaat, one of which is actually in game and can be obtained through Archaeology - trade_archaeology_scimitar-of-the-siroccScimitar of the Sirocco

 

It seems like Irmaat must have got in over his head, since he ended up trying to double cross Al'Akir himself. For those of you that don't know, Al'Akir is the Elemental Lord of air. The Elemental Lords were the most powerful lieutenants in the armies of the Old Gods and included Ragnaros, Therazane, Al'Akir and Neptulon, who ruled over fire, earth, air and water respectively.

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Al'Akir in The Throne of the Four Winds.

 

When the war between the Old Gods and Titans occurred, these Elemental Lords acted as skilled tacticians. Despite their immense powers, they were no match for the titans and were defeated one by one. They were eventually banished to what is now known as the "elemental plane". They were left there to fight each other for eternity, never again reaching the mortal plane. Al'Akir made Skywall his domain, ruling over it from the Throne of the Four Winds. 

 

The idea of the elements and the introduction of the winds feels very Shaman-esque. I really think they had the right idea with using fist weapons, but went the wrong direction. They took it in a very elemental-based direction, with a melee aspect added in, rather than a melee-based direction with the elemental aspect being added in. I like the style, I like the story, but definitely not for a monk. 

 

Alternative Artifacts for Windwalker Monks

 

Paws of the White Tiger

 

This one is going to take a bit of lore invention, but stay with me. The August Celestials are without a doubt the most intensely applicable lore area for the Monk class. The Monks originated in Pandaria, they harness abilities based on the Celestials and they can even summon avatars of them. 

 

Xuen the White Tiger is undoubtedly best applied to Windwalker Monks, with his savage claws, fierce teeth and incredible strength. When he dueled Lei Shen, Xuen lost, but learnt an important lesson. He understood one of the most important aspects of a Monk's training: balance. He understood that ferocity could not win battles alone, his pride was put back into place by his defeat, but he grew stronger from it. 

 

Above I described the fact that I believe, since they are masters of martial arts, Monks should have a melee-based artifact, especially for Windwalker. The story behind the current artifact is too elemental-based.

 

Here's the lore invention part!

 

If you look at a number of the powerful beings in the Warcraft universe, they often have multiple "forms". The August Celestials are essentially the same as the Ancient Guardians, they just remained in Pandaria. 

 

When you look at the Dragon Aspects, beings of slightly lesser power, they have a dragon form and humanoid form. If we were to extrapolate this to the Ancient Guardians, we could implement lore based on Xuen's humanoid form.

 

Xuen, when fighting as his tiger form, uses his paws to swipe and claw at those he battles. If there were to be an alternate form for him, he could perhaps use a pair of very close-fitting fist weapons to mimic his "paws". Lore could have been created to say that, during his time of imbalance in the run up to the Mogu empire, Xuen lost sight of what he represented.

 

As the spirit of strength, one would expect this Ancient to have complete control over his own. When he began to lose sight of "noble" strength and instead slowly turn to pride-fueled ferocity, Azeroth might have betrayed its oath to him.

 

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Xuen battles Lei Shen.

 

Unlike the Dragon Aspects, who got their powers from the Titans, the Ancients were granted their powers by Azeroth itself. As Xuen lost focus and gave in to ferocity, he perhaps could have spent time after his battle with Lei Shen as a humanoid.

 

Azeroth had recalled the power it granted to him until it deemed him worthy once more. He would wander the world of Pandaria, trying to re-establish in his mind what true, noble strength was.

 

The Windwalker monks could have been given a questline in which we uncover this personal moment of Xuen. He describes his journey of revelation and what he discovered true strength to be. We are taken through his time as a humanoid, in which he had to fight for his life, equipped only with his "paws". 

 

We complete a feat which proves to him that we truly understand the balance of strength and so can wield his humanoid weapons, which are directly infused with the power of his raw strength.

 

The story, of course, is not perfect, but it's an idea. It presents a melee weapon, infused with the power of an Ancient, but not the power of the elements. The weapon itself would be far smaller, an extension of ones hands, rather than a separate entity. 

 

That's it for the Monks, as well as for the leather-wearers. Next time, get ready for the demonic powers of the Warlocks!

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      Specialization 2P Bonus Effect 4P Bonus Effect Discipline Item - Priest T21 Discipline 2P Bonus Reduces the recharge time of Power Word: Radiance by 3.0 sec. Item - Priest T21 Discipline 4P Bonus When you cast Power Word: Radiance, the damage of your next Penance is increased by 30%. Holy Item - Priest T21 Holy 2P Bonus Prayer of Healing increases the healing done by your next Flash Heal or Heal by 60%. Item - Priest T21 Holy 4P Bonus Your Flash Heal or Heal spells increase the healing amount of your next Prayer of Healing spell by 30%. Shadow Item - Priest T21 Shadow 2P Bonus Mind Flay and Mind Blast critical strike bonus damage increased by 50%. Item - Priest T21 Shadow 4P Bonus Each stack of Void Form increases the critical strike chance of Mind Flay, Void Bolt, and Mind Blast by 1%. Rogue
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      Specialization 2P Bonus Effect 4P Bonus Effect Assassination Item - Rogue T21 Assassination 2P Bonus When you use Envenom, your Deadly and Wound poisons have 15% increased chance to critically strike for 6 sec. Item - Rogue T21 Assassination 4P Bonus When your Deadly and Wound poisons critically strike the target, you have a 100% chance to gain 4 Energy. Outlaw Item - Rogue T21 Outlaw 2P Bonus Extra attacks from Saber Slash increase the damage of your next Run Through by 5%, stacking up to 4 times. Item - Rogue T21 Outlaw 4P Bonus Run Through has a 12% chance to grant you a Roll the Bones combat enhancement buff you do not already have for 10 sec. Subtlety Item - Rogue T21 Subtlety 2P Bonus Each Combo Point spent reduces the cooldown of Symbols of Death by 0.2 sec. Item - Rogue T21 Subtlety 4P Bonus Backstab and Shadowstrike have a 5% chance to grant you Shadow Gestures, causing your next finishing move to refund 100% of Combo Points spent when used. Shaman
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      Specialization 2P Bonus Effect 4P Bonus Effect Elemental Item - Shaman T21 Elemental 2P Bonus Lava Burst increases the damage of your next Earth Shock or Earthquake by 20%. Item - Shaman T21 Elemental 4P Bonus Earth Shock and Frost Shock have a 15% chance to cause an Elemental Overload. Enhancement Item - Shaman T21 Enhancement 2P Bonus Casting Stormstrike has a 15% chance to increase the damage of your next Rockbiter by 100%. Item - Shaman T21 Enhancement 4P Bonus Rockbiter causes the target to take 10% increased Fire, Frost, and Nature damage from your attacks for 4.5 sec. Restoration Item - Shaman T21 Restoration 2P Bonus When you cast Healing Rain, up to 6 allies within its area are immediately healed for [ 225% of Spell Power ]. Item - Shaman T21 Restoration 4P Bonus Healing Wave and Healing Surge casts have a 100% chance to heal a player standing in your Healing Rain for 40% of the amount. Warlock
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      Specialization 2P Bonus Effect 4P Bonus Effect Affliction Item - Warlock T21 Affliction 2P Bonus When Agony deals damage, there is a 8% chance to increase the duration of Unstable Affliction on the target by 2.0 sec. Item - Warlock T21 Affliction 4P Bonus When you cast Unstable Affliction or Seed of Corruption, all targets within 60 yards suffering from your Agony take 10% increased damage from your Corruptionand Agony for 6 sec. Demonology Item - Warlock T21 Demonology 2P Bonus Each Soul Shard spent on Hand of Gul'dan increases the damage dealt by your next Call Dreadstalkers by 4%. Item - Warlock T21 Demonology 4P Bonus When you cast Demonic Empowerment, your Dreadstalkers will immediately use Dreadbite again at 50% increased damage.
      This can only occur once per cast of Call Dreadstalkers. Destruction Item - Warlock T21 Destruction 2P Bonus Chaos Bolt increases the critical strike chance of Incinerateon the target by 20% for 8 sec. Item - Warlock T21 Destruction 4P Bonus Chaos Bolt will deal an additional 12% of its direct damage caused to the target over 4 sec. Warrior
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      Specialization 2P Bonus Effect 4P Bonus Effect Arms Item - Warrior T21 Arms 2P Bonus When you use Colossus Smash, your critical damage is increased by 10% for 8 sec. Item - Warrior T21 Arms 4P Bonus Mortal Strike increases the damage and critical strike chance of your next Whirlwind or Slam by 15%, stacking up to 3 times. Fury Item - Warrior T21 Fury 2P Bonus Rampage causes the target to bleed for an additional 30% of the direct damage dealt to the target over 4 sec Item - Warrior T21 Fury 4P Bonus When you activate Battle Cry, the damage of Rampage is increased by 75% for 8 sec. Protection Item - Warrior T21 Protection 2P Bonus While Battle Cry is active, the cooldown of Shield Slam is reduced by 100%. Item - Warrior T21 Protection 4P Bonus Blocking an attack increases the value of an existing Ignore Pain effect by [ 400% of Attack Power ].
      This can only occur once every 1 sec. (Source)
    • By Stan

      Hallow's End starts in World of Warcraft this week. What's new this year?
      Hallow's End 2017 Update (Oct 18 - Nov 1)
      You can now queue up for the Headless Horseman at level 23+, so the chances of getting The Horseman's Reins mount are better than last year. You can transmogrify holiday-themed gear throughout the event. A new pet has been added this year. Naxxy is a mini version of Naxxramas. You can purchase it for 150 Tricky Treats. It's BoE, and you can sell it. Headless Horseman now drops item level 880 loot. Two new costumes have been added: Horse Head Costume & Horse Tail Costume. They cost 150 Tricky Treats each. Exquisite Costume Set: "Xavius" can be purchased for 200 Tricky Treats. Horse Costume

      Xavius Costume Set

      Naxxy Abilities
      Plague Breath (Level 1) Sticky Web (Level 2) Leech Life (Level 4) Death Coil (Level 10) Frost Nova (Level 15) Drain Blood (Level 20)
      (Source)