With the reveal of the new Monk class in the next World of Warcraft expansion, Mists of Pandaria, Blizzard's taking a whole new approach to combat. As the bruiser Monk class, available to every race except Worgen and Goblins, you'll be flinging punches and thwacking enemies with impunity through the new content. They've even got an entirely new approach to killing mobs in WoW: absolutely no auto-attacking. Here's everything you need to know about the class that let you live out your Pandaren Brewmaster fantasies.
First and foremost: Monks, unlike the Death Knight, will not be a Hero class. Each newly-created Monk will start at level one, with new starting content in their own harmonious zone. With Humans, Orcs, Night Elves, Blood Elves, Gnomes, Tauren, Dwarves, Undead, Draenei, and Trolls all able to play as Monks, and Pandaren siding with both the Alliance and the Horde, you'll get quite a few options when starting out as a meditating mauler. Monks have been imbued with all-new animations, so you're guaranteed to see fresh moves as you slap your enemies around. Monks will primarily use their hands and feet to attack, but when they take up a weapon, they prefer Staves and Fist Weapons (a weapon category which will be greatly expanded for this expansion), and can also use one-hand axes, maces, swords, and off-hands.
Monks also use a brand new energy mechanic: Chi. Chi will enable your bread-and-butter abilities, Jab and Roll for attacking and mobility. In turn, Jabs will activate Light and Dark force, which are then used to cast abilities in a yin-and-yang balance playstyle. Boths sides have four orbs representing Light and Dark force, and it's still up in the air about how you'll have to balance between these two mentalities on the fly. By eliminating all auto-attacking as a Monk, Blizzard hopes to incorporate that fighting game feel from classics like Street Fighter, where pressing a button immediately results in a meaty hit.
Monks will have three talent trees: Brewmaster, who focuses on drunken brawling, the Mistweaver who combines healing with damage, and the Windwalker who uses melee DPS via the ancient art of "punch people in the face." Watching the Pandaren Monk battle a horde of enemies was a treat: socking enemies in the face with his huge fists, the Monk came complete with Bruce Lee-style exclamations as he bashed his opponent's skull in. When surrounded, he busted out an AoE spin-kick, demolishing nearby brutes in style. We'll let you know how the Monk plays after giving him a go this afternoon.