Updated Mon, Sep 17, 2012 by Messiah
Monks are a full hybrid class in World of Warcraft. They are able to fulfil every role in the game, being able to either heal, tank, or provide melee DPS. This makes them extremely versatile to play and makes finding a group extremely easy.
To fill each of the different rolls you will need to choose the appropriate talent tree specialization and gear correctly to fill that role. That is what this guide is all about. But before we get to those details, let's start with getting your character ready, why you should play a Monk, which race should you choose and what professions are best for your character.
Why should you play a Monk?
Maybe the most important reason to play a Monk, at least initially will be that they are a brand new class. While superficial, it is still a reason, if you have been playing the game for a long time, you are probably pretty excited about a new class, and that's a fair reason to try one.
Next up, Monks are hybrid classes which means you can fill many different roles in a group. Most importantly they can heal or tank, and there is always a shortage of both of those in the game when looking for groups. So, if you do not already have a character capable of tanking or healing, now is the perfect time.
Lastly if you are new to the game and this is your first character, then you are likely unsure of what you want to do long term in the game. This means a hybrid class is a great choice for you since it gives you the option to choose pretty much anything and change at any time in the future.
What’s the best Race for a Monk?
There are a huge number of options available here as you can play as any race other than Goblin or Worgen.
While you could go ahead and pick any race that you like simply for aesthetic reasons, you might want to check out the different racial bonuses that are available and choose the one that will fit your play style best. For example if you are going to play as a Horde member and plan on tanking, then potentially Tauren would be your best choice due to their 5% extra health bonus. If you plan on playing for the Alliance and focus on PVP then maybe a Human would be best for their Every Man for Themselves bonus.
Probably the best choice however would be the Monks primary race, the Pandaren. If for no other reason than they look extremely cool. If you want a real reason, since you will need to level to 90 it will take a while, and Pandaren have a racial bonus called Inner Peace that allows their rested experience bonus to last twice as long.
You can find out more about all the races here: World of Warcraft Races.
What’s the best Profession for a Monk?
Choosing a profession used to be pretty difficult, but thanks to normalization of the various trade skills it isn't that hard any more. You get about the same bonus with any non-gathering profession; they just come in different varieties and tiers. So the first major stat reward comes at level 70 and at each expansion thereafter.
So don’t overly fret when picking professions, go with the one you know you’ll like. It’s a great idea to check out our Professions portal to browse over what each profession does and what benefit each one has to you.
If you really want to maximize your performance though then you should consider matching your professions to your spec, and Monks are very much like druids for their specs so you can follow the same advise as druids use.
For example if you choose to mainly focus on melee DPS then getting skinning and leatherworking would be idea. This would grant you the crit bonus from skinning, better wrist enchants from leatherworking, as well as providing usable items.
If you are going to tank as a brewmaster then potentially mining and blacksmithing is best. Since it would provide you with extra stamina and extra gem slots. Lastly as a healer enchanting is always good for ring enchants, or jewelcrafting for better gems.
You can change at any time though and again the professions provide a fairly even stat bonus across the board, it is just a matter of which stat. Lastly unless you are going to raid, and really want to get the absolute most out of the character your choice of profession is not going to break your character.
What are the different specs that Monks can choose from?
This is a great question and one that needs to be considered as you are leveling and how you want to play in the end game. A monk has three different specs as outlined below.
Brewmaster (Tank): As a Brewmaster a Monk becomes a tanking class that focuses on a varied combat style and special buffs from their various brews. Think of the drunken masters from kung-fu movies and you probably are not far off. While all melee based and only being able to wear leather armor expect Monks to tank very much like druids do with buffs to dodge and other avoidance abilities.
Windwalker (DPS): This spec allows Monks to become hand-to-hand melee masters. Expect them to focus on building up either light or dark energy though the use of their chi based abilities to perform devastating finishing moves. They will likely play very much like a rogue in that respect.
Mistweaver (Healer): This spec will all monks to focus on healing other players. Blizzard has stated that they are aiming to have Monks be able to heal others while doing damage. While not much is known so far about how this will occur or how well it will work, there is one example shared by Blizzard so far, Statue of the Jade Serpent. This ability will looks like an interesting way to heal, and could offer a different way to heal if it works.
I can think of two reasons Blizzard is trying to allow healing in this way. The first is that healers are always in demand, yet many players will not play them as they find them boring since they do not get to fight. This would allow those players to still do damage all while healing for a group. Other games have tried this and it has worked ok for them, more as a support role not a main healer role, but Blizzard could make it function. The second reason to try this method of healing is that there are already three different healing classes that all heal in much the same way, would adding a fifth gain anything significant? The big question is will this new method work? Only time will tell.
What are the best stats for Monks?
There are many different stats that are useful for Monks, which is useful for you depends on your spec and will be described in the next section. This section focuses only on what each stat that is and what it does. All numbers are based on level 85 known conversions since level 90 conversions are not known yet.
What’s the best equipment for a Monk?
Choosing equipment will be a complicated issue for monks since each spec will require slightly different gear. Below is a brief rundown on what we know so far about the gear that monks will require in each spec.
Brewmaster (Tank) - As a tank you need to focus on gaining stamina, dodge, mastery, hit, and expertise. Crit and Haste could also help out a bit with threat generation, however if you are not having threat issues then focus more on your other stats.
Windwalker (DPS) - As a melee DPS similar to a feral druid or rogue you will focus on agility as your key stat and then also aim to get mastery, crit, haste, hit, and expertise.
Mistweaver (Healer) - As a healer you key stat will be intellect since it provides spell power, mana, and spell crit. After that you are looking for spirit for mana regeneration, and then haste, mastery, and crit for faster and bigger heals. However since Monks will also have chi as a resource this could change by release.