Levels 46 to 60
Your first ability for this set of levels is quite handy for dungeons: Spinning Crane Kick. Now you have the beginnings of an AoE rotation! Just remember that it will only generate chi if you have three or more targets, so stick to a single-target rotation if there are two.
Immediately following Spinning Crane Kick, you’ll get Spinning Fire Blossom at 48. (Monks love to spin, apparently.) This quirky little ability is pretty unique. First, its a windwalker-exclusive ranged ability and costs 1 chi, so you’re not going to use it very often, just when fight circumstances cause you to have to leave melee range for a bit. Second, its default behavior is a dumbfire; use it, and it flies straight forward, hitting the first thing in range (and the range is pretty considerable). I found using it this way to be pretty difficult, so I’d recommend glyphing it two levels later to allow it to home in on a target. Around this time, you’ll also get a free 5% agility from Leather Specialization, which is handy.
Another ranged option is Crackling Jade Lightning, our level 54 ability. While this ability is designed mostly for mistweavers to give them a ranged damage option, we can still use it when we don’t have the chi for Spinning Fire Blossom or just want to pull something quickly, since Spinning Fire Blossom has a travel time.
Level 56 is a very important level for windwalkers, because you’ll receive Rising Sun Kick, the most potent move in your arsenal. Not only is this kick the strongest ability we have in terms of damage per chi, it applies a debuff to the enemy that increases your damage to that target by 10%. Unless you’re fighting something that can be killed in a single Fists of Fury, you’ll want to use Rising Sun Kick first and every time it’s off cooldown.
While level 60 is an important milestone to any character (flying mounts, woo!), there are some good windwalker-specific bonuses here as well. You’ll get Tigereye Brew, which is built up to use as a quick damage boost, as well as a one of three crowd control talents. Since you’re already going to be in the thick of things, I highly recommend Leg Sweep, a Fists of Fury/Leg Sweep/Spinning Crane Kick combo will give you a large amount of AoE damage during which opponenets are defenseless.
Levels 61 to 90
New ability gain slows even more here as you get out of the Old World and into expansion content. Level 64 unlocks your next two abilities: Healing Sphere and Path of Blossoms. Healing Sphere allows you to deliberately place one of those little green spheres you’ve been seeing for a while now, to heal yourself or a party member. It’s got a pretty hefty energy cost, but if you see a bad fight coming up, you can set up a fall-back point with three spheres to get a near-full heal. Path of Blossoms, meanwhile, isn’t all that helpful. It sounds cool in theory (landmines!), but they don’t last long enough to be pre-placed, so you’ll only be using it in the event you need to run away from something.
Level 68 opens what might be considered our final utility spell, Grapple Weapon. It’s essentially a ranged disarm with a chance to get a small buff. Handy, but likely not too useful except in PvP.
After that, you have another long wait until 75, when you get your fifth talent choice. All of these are defensive/healing abilities, so they’re very situational. In general, I’d recommend Diffuse Magic as a self-dispel/magic damage reducer. Dampen Harm sounds good, but you (hopefully) won’t be taking too many physical hits for more than 10% of your HP from quest mobs and such. You’ll also have a third glyph choice here, though nothing is particularly compelling.
Level 80 heralds the last rotation-changer you get. You’ll unlock your mastery, Combo Breaker, which will occasionally grant you a free Tiger Palm or Blackout Kick after a Jab. Like with Energizing Brew, this is one of those skills that you won’t appreciate as much while questing but really becomes useful once you participate in a sustained fight. Immediately following this, you’ll pick up the last windwalker-specific ability, Legacy of the White Tiger, which is a 5% crit buff for you and your group.
Home stretch! Level 82 opens Zen Meditation, which is potentially a very powerful group/raid cooldown. (I say potentially, because it all depends on which spells it affects or doesn’t affect. At least, you’ll get some damage reduction out of it.) At 87, you’ll unlock Transcendence, which is a short-range teleport similar to a warlock’s Demonic Circle. Finally, 90 will grant you your final tier of talent choices. Chi Torpedo is a bit weak at the moment, so your best bet will be Xuen for a single-target fight, or Rushing Jade Wind for multiple targets.
Whew. Now that we’ve got to 90, we’ll have to prep for endgame! (Or is it just the beginning?) Next up, 101 guides for all the specs.
It’s open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft’s next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!