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The State of the Monk: Additional follower or future OP class?

state of the monk in diablo 3It’s no surprise that the Monk class has been in need of some love pre 2.1. However with the second iteration of the patch on the PTR that need has not yet been abided. People are still clamoring for more sweeping changes(pun intended).

I was a heavy Monk user pre ROS and took a break with the xpac to delve into my first love(WD) and my new fling(crusader). I returned to the Monk only a few weeks ago and what I found was a shell of what I had left. After suffering for a long time as a WD it was nice when they finally rose to prominence. After a while on the top I wanted a new challenge and set my sights back on my monk, however even this challenge seems to daunting then all that time as a struggling WD. Diablo Forum MVP Druin put together an eloquent look at the myriad issues facing the class:


Hello everyone!

I am back from vacation and I am looking to write up a concise review of where we stand in 2.1.

My plan is to give a quick overview of our major issues then discuss the 2.1 changes and how they affect the various facets of our class.

I will be using this thread to fine-tune what we want to communicate to the devs and then I will make a major “state of monks in 2.1″ thread on the PTR forums to attempt to get some help for our lovely class! :D

1. Current Monk Issues

Damage

This is really at the forefront of the monk issues.

Since the release of RoS, monks have been having a tough time with DPS. We have a very limited range of options mostly centering around the skill Exploding Palm. (Un)fortunately EP is being changed as it breaks greater rifts (along with Rimeheart and Furnace) so our only source of widely competitive damage is going away. This leaves monks in a pretty bad spot.

Our spenders do very little damage (I mean VERY little) relative to their cost and our generators are used more as proc-vehicles for Odyn Son, Thunderfury, Shard of Hate and Rime/Furnace more than as sources of damage themselves. This leaves us with our 6pc Raiment of 1000 Storms which makes DS proc a 3000% weapon damage attack on cast. 3000% damage is a lot and it scales with lightning damage gear but DS has a flat-immutable 6 second cooldown. This can be mitigated to some extent by using Jawbreaker to give “free” dashing strike charges but that interaction is quite clunky.

Basically, monks will be forced into a clunky, hard-to-use situationally terrible Storm-breaker set in order to compete with other classes in damage. If they don’t want to use this mechanic, they will do very poor damage.

Durability

Next on the list is our ability to survive. This is a more controversial topic with some finding survival to be quite easy and many others finding it to be quite hard. In 2.1 with the change from dex giving dodge to dex giving armor and the change from OWE to Harmony, many monks who had minor synergy with OWE will see a minor tankiness boost. (my Raiment set for example)
On the other hand, monk who are deeply invested into OWE will see a major tankiness loss. (my Shatter-palm set). In either case, both types of monks probably have a lot of trouble living in T6 without 2x Unity or the constant dashing from Storm-breaker. Why is this? Because monks have to face-tank so much stuff.

Our primary source of resource generation comes from skills that require you to be up-close and personal with mobs which means a lot of damage can’t be avoided. To compensate for this, end-game monks are forced to take defensive passives (Harmony) defensive skills (Epiphany-shroud / Serenity / Inner Sanc / Blinding Flash) and CDR in basically every single spec. This is extremely limiting to the monk playstyle though arguably less of a problem than the DPS as the defensive skill/CDR solution does exist.

Additionally, sustain is nearly non-existent. LoH requires primary affixes which takes away from our already terrible DPS, LPS is the same, LPSS both takes primary affixes AND is extremely poor and Globes took a pretty big hit in 2.1. Monks actually have access to healing skills but, for some reason, they are tuned to be SO weak that they are essentially non-existent.

Resource Management

This is a more fundamental problem than the other two issues. Mere number tweaks would likely not result in this issue being resolved.

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A Total Guide to Greater Rifts

Greater Rifts (GRs, initially known as Tiered Rifts) are a higher level of Nephalem Rift, meant to provide a greater challenge and greater rewards for players geared well enough to take them on. Greater Rifts are timed, and *must* be completed within 15 minutes to earn rewards. All treasure in Greater Rifts, with usually a legendary item or two, comes from the DiabloWikiGreater Rift Guardian (GRG) which is an upgraded version of the regular DiabloWikiRift Guardians.

Greater Rift CompletionDifficulty: Greater Rifts are numbered as a measure of their difficulty. A level 1 Greater Rift is very easy, equivalent to Normal difficulty (or less.) Greater Rifts scale up quickly though, and will become challenging for any player ability. Level 8 is equivalent to about Torment 1, Level 15 is equivalent to about [Torment 3, and Level 25 is approximately the same as Torment 6. There should be an infinite number or Greater Rift levels since each one merely increases the hit points and damage of the monsters by some percentage.

Shrines: There are virtually no DiabloWikishrines or DiabloWikipylons in Greater Rifts. Pylons are seen occasionally, but their bonuses last only 15 seconds (instead of the usual 30) and Blizzard specifically said that DiabloWikiConduit Pylons would not be found in Greater Rifts since they are so powerful they would skew the entire rift DiabloWikiLeaderboard system.

Dying in Greater Rifts

Revive at Corpse. No.

No Respecs: Characters can reallocate their Paragon Points while in a Rift, but can not access their inventory or skill menus (DiabloWikirespec) while in a Greater Rift. It is possible to return to town mid-GR, and players can respec and make repairs then, though it’s not recommended since the GR is a timed race. This is a feature designed to limit exploits via equipment or skill changes, so players can’t change gear or skills to be more effective against a single target before they reach the Greater Rift Guardian for instance.

Rewards: Items and gold do not drop in Greater Rifts, and there are no chests or other clickables. All treasure comes from defeating the Greater Rift Guardian, who drops a huge amount of stuff, about double that of a normal Rift Guardian, and has a very high probability of dropping at least one legendary item. (Note that the lack of gold and chests hurts the effectiveness of legendary items such as DiabloWikiGoldwrap and DiabloWikiHarrington Waistguard that proc up in effectiveness via gold pickups or chest/clickables opening.)

Progress Bar: The progress bar in a Greater Rift increases gradually from killing trash mobs, but jumps up by larger amounts for Elite kills. (Elites drop objects that look a bit like gooey health orbs, which count for big boosts in the progress bar when collected.) This is a feature designed to keep players from simply rushing past Elites to more quickly finish the rift by killing trash mobs, as can be done in normal Nephalem Rifts, and players will fill their progress bar more quickly by killing Elites than by skipping them, except in very rare long Elite battles.

Accessing and Process

  1. # Get a Greater Rift Keystone level 1 from completing a Nephalem Rift. – Drop rate still being determined.
  2. Use the GR Keystone to open a portal to a Greater Rift at the regular Nephalem Obelisk next to DiabloWikiOrek.
  3. Kill all the mobs in the Greater Rift before the timer runs out.
  4. No regular or champion mobs drop loot in Greater Rifts.
  5. The Rift Guardian will drop loot regardless if the timer has run out or not.
  6. If the Rift Guardian is killed before the timer runs out he will drop a Greater Rift Keystone.
  7. The Keystone’s level is determined by how quickly the Greater Rift was cleared. The quicker, the higher the GR key fragment.

Progress Bar and Rift Speed

The progress bar in a Greater Rift looks the same as the bar in a normal Nephalem Rift, with two added slider needles, displayed above and below the bar. The total bar coloured in orange, and the icon above it show your current progress towards completing the rift. The icon below it and any colour in blue shows how fast you need to progress to complete the rift in time.

greater rift progress bar

Ahead of the progress time

When players are battling through a Rift that’s just at the limit of their killing power, they will often see their progress dropping behind and the bar showing blue, before they kill a couple of Elites in a row and see the bonus from Elites shoot them back up ahead of schedule.

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Blizzard Considering Diablo 3 Monsters Density Fixes

Posted 24 Jan 2013 by

A fan brought up the common complaint about insufficient density for the Diablo 3 monsters in pretty much all of the game other than some key portions of Act Three.

Grimiku: I think there are multiple reasons behind the desire for scaling monster density for the players who are asking for it. The first one that comes to mind is not the self-serving need to squeak out insane farming efficiency (there are some who seem to definitely want this), but the desire to feel that they are not losing efficiency when farming anything other than Act III. We definitely want people to farm multiple Acts, so we are discussing options to achieve that goal.

Your ideas on the subject are certainly welcome (in fact, the question of “what mob density would you choose?” is a great one to debate) and we hope that you will continue post them.

The OP in that post suggested a Monster Density option which would work allow players to custom set the number of enemies they faced. (Best I recall, the players X command in D2 *did* increase monster numbers, but DiabloWikiMonster Power in D3 does not.) I can’t see that happening (too exploitable) and you’ll note that the Blue doesn’t even acknowledge the idea or give any hint to the dev’s current thinking on the issue. Neither did DiabloWikiWyatt Cheng a couple of weeks ago:

Unfortunately increased monster density in Act 1 and 2 in Inferno difficulty did not make patch 1.0.7. It is absolutely something we would like to improve, and it is still on the list for the future. I spend most of personal play time in Act 3 as well: Keeps 1, Core, Tower, Bridge, Fields. It’s a matter of degrees, it’ll never all be balanced 100% equal in all zones everywhere you go – but they need to be comparable within a certain tolerance, and we’re definitely outside that margin right now.

One popular suggestion from weeks/months ago was for monster density to scale up with higher levels of Monster Power. That seemed like a possible fix for the lack of higher exp with higher MP, but that issue is being addressed directly in v1.07 with the exp boost per MP level rising to 25%. (I’m eager for MP2 farming, anticipating that 50% bonus to exp/MF/GF.)

I don’t see a monster density player selection, and I doubt the devs will simply double or triple the monster density all over. That would break the flow and aesthetics of Acts 1 and 2, and make them a lot harder, which would screw up the difficulty progression for new players. Also, it wouldn’t fix the issue of the poor level layouts, since all those long, narrow hallways and dead ends you see throughout Acts 1 and 2 are as much a problem (in terms of efficient exp farming) as the lack of monsters.

So I’ll once again suggest the idea I put into a recent article on farming issues. New, special dungeons in Acts 1 and 2 (and maybe 3 and 4 as well). They work a lot like the bonus dungeon maps you see in the end game in Torchlight and PoE and other ARPGs, and they could easily be added into Diablo 3 as well. This saves the devs from having to rework the entire existing acts, the bonus dungeons can be Inferno only, and since they’re not part of the normal act progression they don’t have to follow the same rules in terms of difficulty progression, level size or layout, monster density, etc.

Obviously these special dungeons would have higher monster density (akin to the juiciest parts of Act 3) and there should either be a lot of them to select from, or else they should be very deep 5 or 10 levels at least (bottomless?) so you don’t have to restart and rebuild your stacks all the time. They should have different/varied layouts (surface areas too) and they could have other fun mad modder-type features. Bonus treasure rooms, rooms with several boss packs, Champion packs with 4-8 champs in a group, timed levels, random encounters with sub-bosses like Ghom or Siegebreaker, special levels where bosses get 5 or 6 DiabloWikiboss modifiers at once, etc.

I don’t claim it’s a perfect solution, but it seems much more doable than reworking the entire existing acts. Thoughts or suggestions?


Tagged As: | Categories: Blue Posts, Grimiku, Monsters, Wyatt Cheng