#1 - May 3, 2018, 2:39 p.m.
I love my monk. It is my favorite character thematically, mechanically (for raids), and I love the aesthetic. But going into BFA I'm struggling to justify playing it because of how weak it is in 5 mans (M+ is something I find enjoyable and plan to get into more in BFA) and how bad it feels while doing world/quest content, which is a large part of the game to simply "suffer through" for the sake of its strength in raids. I'm a 2 night a week casual and I won't just play a class because it's the best.
IMO, there is a large discrepancy with how playing a brewmaster feels while questing and doing world content compared to any other tank (and to a lesser extent, 5 man content). I'm going to attempt to make the argument that this both feels bad from a gameplay perspective and is discouraging new players from trying the class, and how the problem may be exacerbated in BFA by losing some key points of QOL going into BFA from Legion.
I leveled a brewmaster to 120 recently on horde side for Beta and it was a miserable experience. The only thing that even made me able to do all the soloable quest content was the fact that I ran with a boomkin who could spot heal me occasionally. I've played every tank on beta except bear some amount, and monk felt the worst by a large margin, even worse than warrior, which is admittedly unfinished by blizzard. Three mobs could almost kill me at times, where most DPS I played could handle that easily. Even in dungeons, Monk often felt the worst. I believe there's a few reasons for this, so I'll try to outline them in the most organized and clear manner I can, and welcome feedback!
Brewmasters suffer from a severe lack of sustain. Unlike the mitigation tanks (warrior/druid), they don't STOP any damage automatically, they simply delay it, and you can't remove any without purifying brew. Stagger, by design, isn't very effective against consistent incoming damage that you experience while questing and doing 5 mans. This is fine in raids as you have a team of healers (typically where at least one is 100% dedicated to watch tanks) to watch you, but when solo or in 5 mans, you have yourself, and sometimes a healer who's attention is rightfully split. This means while questing, you actually often have to stop to drink/heal/recover MORE than even DPS, which is something no other tank typically has to do (maybe warrior in the current iteration but they are unfinished).
Now I'm sensitive as to WHY they don't have the sustain of a DK, pally, or DH tank. That would be grossly overpowered with how well they smooth out damage. That's completely and totally understandable.
However, I feel like their sustain is far too low. While the mechanism in which they generate self healing is great for raids, it falls short (to put it mildly) while solo and doing 5 mans. With the tank redesign in Legion, all tanks had additional reliance on healers (although BDK eventually broke out of this as the expansion progressed), and weren't meant to be able to keep themselves alive in raids of their own accord. I feel like there's a lot of room for improvement in both the potency and consistency of self healing while solo without making them overpowered for raids. The first tier of talents for brewmaster represent healing that is so weak and inadequate for sustain that most of us simply pick "Eye of the Tiger" and forget that tier exists. Chi Burst or Chi Wave still heal virtually nothing and simply don't warrant the GCD they cost.
Of which to say, BFA monks have none. And that's fine. Not every tank needs to be the same, or have the same tools. But coupled with the fact that we have the worst sustain, AND no answer to then burst things down faster, means we are even further in the proverbial "hole" when it comes to killing a powerful rare or pulling a large pack of monsters. These template characters were instrumental in highlighting this fact to me, because I doubt I would have noticed if I had copied my live monk over and just mongo'd my way through the content. I'd argue as far as the tanks go by design, monks need a DPS cd MORE than other tanks, simply because they will never sustain like a BDK.
(Continued in next post)