Keeping up with Zen Sphere

In Spotlights, Warlords of Draenor by Babylonius

Recent changes in 6.1 pushed Zen Sphere to the top of the list for single target damage among the teir 2 (lv30 talents). For many Windwalkers, even those who have played for years, this is the first time using the ability. There is/was much discussion about how it works and how best to use it. I’ll try to cover the main discussion points and give some facts and  my opinions on how it can be handled.

What it does

Zen Sphere is a 16s buff on yourself or a friendly target that ticks healing to them and radiates damage. At the end of the 16s or if the friendly falls below 35%  health, it will explode, dealing a larger chunk of healing and exploding more damage all at once. Each Windwalker can “juggle” two Zen Sphere buffs at once, on two different targets, due to its 10s cooldown. Recasting it on a target who already has it will cause it to explode and be re-applied with a new 16s buff.


Who to put it on

The most important person to keep it on, in most situations, is yourself. You will always be in range and always alive when you can cast it. Sure, you can put it on two friendlies, but why make it more complicated than it needs to be.

After yourself, you have to decide between helping the raid and helping yourself.

  • If you want to help the raid, then one of the tanks should be the target of your second Zen Sphere buff. The heal may be small, but the explosion can certainly help cushion a large blow that would otherwise kill your tank.
  • If you want to do the most DPS possible, then friendlies that rarely die and are always in melee range of the boss are your best bet. In general, hunter pets are the top choice for this since they stick to the boss like glue and pretty much nothing kills them.

How to put it on

Once you’ve selected who you want to use it on, its time to figure out how you want to use it. In all macros I’ll be putting Chi Shaping rather than Zen Sphere. Chi Shaping is the macro command for whatever Tier 2 (lv30) talent you have selected. If you want to make a macro specific for Zen Sphere, then just change “Chi Shaping” with “Zen Sphere” in the macro.

Mouseovers

Many people like using mouseover macros:

#showtooltip
/cast [target=mouseover] Chi Shaping; Chi Shaping

  • Pros: Target can be adjusted on the fly, one button click to use it
  • Cons: Requires slightly more attention to your unit frames and where your mouse is pointed when you click

Actionbar Paging

Others (like myself) use two macros with actionbar paging to switch action bars, with one macro casting the ability on yourself and switching to an identical actionbar:

#showtooltip
/cast Chi Shaping
/changeactionbar [talent:2/2] 2

And a second macro on the identical action bar to cast it on a target in a priority then switch back to first action bar:

#showtooltip Chi Shaping
/cast [@__,exists,nodead] [@___,exists,nodead] [@targettarget,exists,help,nodead] [] Chi Shaping
/changeactionbar 1

The “___” is where you put the name of the hunter pets, tanks, or melee that you want to cast it on, you can add as many or as few of thos brackets as you’d like.. The macro will go down the list to whatever one is first in the order, alive, and in range of you to cast it on. The last target in the list is that target of your target (boss) which should be a tank, as a last resort, the boss should always be targetting someone.

  • Pros: One button (technically two, but only have to press it once), never have to worry about  picking a target or one being dead or out of range
  • Cons: Requires a little bit more set up, keybinding must be on a bar that you don’t mind switching (many addons require this to be your primary bar 1), can’t adjust who its cast on dynamically

Modifiers

Finally, some prefer to use keybinding modifiers like SHIFT, CTRL, and ALT to use change the cast slightly:

#showtooltip Chi Shaping
/cast [mod:alt, @self] Chi Shaping; [@___] Chi Shaping

Similar to the action bar paging macros, the ___ can be changed to be whoever you want it to cast it on. Its possible to make this macro function in a priority similar to the above macro, but thats beyond  my knowledge.

  • Pros: One button, no having to set up alternative action bars, don’t have to worry about mousing over target
  • Cons: Modifier keys can be uncomfortable for some players, using modifiers with a mouse like Razer Naga, can be a real PITA to downright impossible.