Enslaved by the nefarious Mogu, the Pandaren race was once beaten and broken. However, hope remained I the form of the Monk. These warriors, unable to obtain weapons, instead focused on harnessing their chi for weaponless combat. This combat style would not only allow the Monk to do damage, but also tank and heal. Thus, when the Pandaren revolution was ripe, the race was well prepared to defeat the Mogu.
While becoming a Monk was once only done by Pandaren, this is no longer the case. With more Pandaren than ever roaming the world, other races have been able to learn the ways of the Monk. Now many of this class wonder the world, taking on every role in the group and delighting the world with their ancient martial arts.
Current Expansion: Warlords of Draenor
Choosing the Monk
The Monk is a hybrid class that is able to take part in all three vital in-game roles; healing, tanking, and DPS. Using their chi to lead them, Monks can dish out incredible amounts of damage, embrace the blows given to them by enemies, or tap into the healing mists and restore themselves and their friends.
No matter their role of choice, the Monk typically lets their hands and feet lead the way. Even Monks who choose the path of healing find themselves face to face with enemies, a much different experience than other healers in the game. Relying on their powerful connection to chi, Monks are a force to be reckoned with in game.
While Monks were originally produced by the Pandaren race, other races have fully embraced the ways of this class. This leaves players with many options when it comes to picking a race. Races able to become Monks include: Pandaren, Dwarf, Human, Blood Elf, Tauren, Undead, Draenei, Gnome, Night Elf, Orc, and Troll.
Monk Core Abilities
Every Monk comes with a core set of abilities that are common to every single member of this class. No matter the specialization you choose, you will have these abilities. These abilities tend to be distinctive and are what players usually associate with the class. In short, these abilities are what make a Monk, a Monk. Examples of these abilities include: Jab, Roll, Blackout Kick, and Flying Serpent Kick.
Monks, like Rogues, can wear both Cloth and Leather armor. This allows the Monk to stay mobile, suiting their whirling combat style and complimenting their healing abilities. While this armor may not seem suitable for tanking, the Monk taps into the power of their chi to deflect blows, rather than equipping heavy armor to do the job for them.
As mentioned previously, Monks rely on their hands and feet for combat. This is much different than many other classes who excel in the use of weapons. However, from time to time, the Monk does bring their weapon to bear. When the need arises, Monks can use the following weapons: Fist Weapons, One-Handed Axes, One-Handed Maces, One-Handed, Swords, Polearms, and Staves.
Windwalker and Brewmaster Monks make use of a resource known as energy. Appearing as a yellow bar below the character portrait, this resource fuels their skills and abilities. Energy begins totally full and then depletes as it is used by the Monk. Energy naturally replenishes itself over time. It can not be refueled by food or water like other resources found in the game.
Mistweaver Monks use a totally different resource called mana. Mana appears as a blue bar under the character portrait. Like energy, mana fuels the Mistweaver's skills and abilities. Mana starts out totally full and depletes as the Monk uses it. Mana regenerates slowly over time, but can be restored quickly by taking a mana pot or drinking.
Besides mana and energy, Monks all share another unique resource; chi. Chi is generated by using certain abilities like Jab and is consumed to power other abilities. Monks can have a maximum of 4 (or 5 with talents) chi. Chi does not decay during combat, but will quickly vanish once the Monk is outside of combat.
As the Monk levels they will eventually be promoted to choose from one of three separate specializations: Brewmaster, Mistweaver, and Windwalker. Each of these specializations will take the Monk down a totally different and unique path from the others. Brewmasters are tanking Monks, who use their knowledge of martial arts and drunken taunts to mitigate damage and draw the ire of their foes. Mistweavers are healers who heal by dealing damage to their enemies. Finally, Windwalkers are pure damage dealers, kicks and punches to fight their way across the battlefield.
Each specialization will offer up a totally different play experience for the player. Try them all to see which one fits your personal play style or switch between them all to keep things interesting. No matter which spec you ultimately choose, it will be welcome in any group. Currently, all Monk specs are viable and useful in game. The Monk, no matter his spec, will never find himself an outcast.