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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


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.


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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Ring of Royal Grandeur Farming Exploit?

You want? You take!

You want? You take!

The DiabloWikiRing of Royal Grandeur (armory) has become the most sought after item in Diablo 3, as its legendary affix is basically mandatory for all end game gearing decisions, given the power of partial Item Set bonuses. The hard part is finding one, as it’s one of the five legendary items that can only be obtained from Act One Horadric Caches. This is good in a way, as it’s the sole remaining item/profit-based reason players have to do *anything* other than RiftRiftRift. (Given the game’s design direction in recent months, I’m frankly surprised the RoRG hasn’t been turned into a Greater Rift Guardian drop.)

Most players hunt RoRGs with brute force, by grinding hundreds of Act One bounties as quickly as possible, which usually means split-farming on Normal difficulty. That’ll work, eventually, but is there a better way? A user in our Diablo 3 community forum named Horadrimm says yes, there’s a trick to it, by following a method players are calling the “Junger Rules.” Quote:

I got 5 RORGS with very minimal effort and so can you!!

How it works: The game has a pity timer, meaning that if you don’t get a legendary within an hour or so it drops one for you automatically. The goal the aforementioned method of farming is to ensure that pity drop is in your horadric cache and not in the world.

What to do:

  • Do not kill any mobs except those required for objectives.
  • Do not kill goblins.
  • Do not open chests including resplendent chests.
  • Do not destroy breakables (pots, barrels, looting bodies etc).
  • Do not pop fortune shrines.
  • Do not kill mobs from required cursed chest and shrine event objectives until the timer has run out.
  • Avoiding a legendary drop in the world increases the chance the pity timer drops one in your cache.

    First off, the guy who invented this was apparently named Junger, so now it’s called the “Junger Rules.” Which is fine, but how the hell did they avoid the obvious pun and call it the “Junger Games?” So that’s what I’m calling it, since I’m all about obvious puns.

    As for the technique, the theory is that since the game has a “pity timer” that increases your chances of finding a legendary item the longer you go without finding one, you can exploit this by obtaining a Horadric Cache after not finding any Legendaries for some time. Hence not killing Goblins, not opening golden chests, avoiding random Elites, etc. This is a sacrifice since it’ll lower your total legendaries found, but boost your chances of finding that all-important RoRG.

    Does it work? Some players swear it does, others say it doesn’t. And thus we’re plunged back into the conspiracy theories that are inevitably spawned by item hunting in a game where we don’t know exactly how item drops work. I think the principle is sound, as the pity timer is real, but I’m not at all sure the stated rules are how it should be done.

    First of all, we don’t know when items in a Horadric Cache are determined. The Junger Gamers say the legendary pity timer works when you find the Cache, but that seems contrary to what we know about how Horadric Caches determine their item drops. Remember early in RoS, when players were storing Caches up in Normal and opening them on Torment 6? That was a real exploit, easily observed since it caused Imperial Gems to drop from Caches found in Normal. (Which made it seem that items in Caches were determined when the Cache was opened. NOT when it was found.)

    Blizzard confirmed that exploit by hotfixing it and adding an internal tag to unopened Caches that tracked what DiabloWikidifficulty level they were found on, and the level of the character that farmed them. (So if you find bags with a lvl 70 and open with a lvl 60, all the items will be lvl 70.) Bliz later expanded on that in Patch 2.0.5 when they boosted the chances for legendary items to drop from Caches found on Torment 2 and higher.

    Furthermore, Bliz recently confirmed that items from Caches roll their smart drop according to the class of the character that opens the cache. It doesn’t matter who farms the cache in terms of what items drop. That matches my experience and testing as well, as I once farmed a bunch of caches with my DH and my Barb, and then opened them with a WD and got almost all INT gear, plus several Witch Doctor-restricted items.

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    Blizzard Explains Horadric Cache Legendary Drop Rules

    Posted 17 Apr 2014 by

    Does the loot from a Horadric Cache vary (in quality or frequency) depending on the difficulty level where you obtain it, or open it? No. Blizzard explains Horadric Cache legendary drop rules:

    I run bounties on Normal just to burn through them as quick as possible, but I can burn through T1 almost just as fast. Should I be doing them on T1 for a higher percentage drop rate from the caches or should I just keep doing them on normal?
    leg-ring-of-royal-grandeur1Grimiku: The loot from a Horadric Cache won’t change based on the difficulty, but Torment 1 does offer incentives (like an increased drop rate, gold and experience) that help while you’re earning a cache. If what you want is to get as many Horadric Caches as possible then a lower difficulty might be optimal, though, since all of the benefits for increasing the difficulty to Torment 1 exist outside of the cache specific loot.

    Sorry, just wanted to clarify something. You’re very clear about the loot in the cache not changing based on the difficulty. I take that to mean that the loot table does not change.

    However, does the “chance” that you’ll get a legendary from that fixed loot table increase with each torment level? For example. Am I just as likely to get a Ring of Royal Grandeur (a cache specific item) from a T1 cache as I am from a T6 cache?
    Grimiku: That’s a great observation, but more of an oversight on my part rather than precise, selective messaging. The chance to get a Legendary item from a Horadric Cache does not change based on the difficulty you acquired the cache. To use the example provided you’d have the same chance to get the Ring of Royal Grandeur from a cache acquired in Torment 1 as one acquired in Torment 6.

    Two other common Bounty Bag questions.

    Q: Does the gear roll when the bag is found, or opened?
    A: The level of the gear and the act the bag was earned in is set when Tyrael hands it over, but the actual items roll their stats when the bag is opened. This is why it used to be possible to get DiabloWikiImperial gems from Normal difficulty bags if you opened them in DiabloWikiT6. The items in the bag will be at the level of the char who found them. For instance, opening bags found by a lvl 70 DH with your level 60 WD will get you WD-themed items (INT on the mainstat, lots of WD helms and knives, etc) but all the items will be level 70, and all the gems will be DiabloWikiMarquise. This means you can cross-class farm a bit with bounty bags; the opening class will get more appropriate items for their class and the DiabloWikimainstat will usually roll correctly.

    Q: Which legendary items can only be found from DiabloWikiHoradric Caches?
    A: There are 20 legendary items that can only be found from Horadric Caches, and they are arranged by acts. We’ve got a full listing in the article, with their special legendary properties, for easy reference. Here’s a quick list:

    Act One

  • DiabloWikiGolden Gorget of Leoric, Amulet. After earning a massacre bonus, 4–6 Skeletons are summoned to fight by your side for 10 seconds
  • DiabloWikiMad Monarch’s Scepter, One-Handed Mace. After killing 10 enemies, you release a Poison Nova that deals 1050–1400% weapon damage as Poison to enemies within 30 yards.
  • DiabloWikiPauldrons of the Skeleton King, Shoulders. When receiving fatal damage, there is a chance that you are instead restored to 25% of maximum Life and cause nearby enemies to flee in fear.
  • DiabloWikiRing of Royal Grandeur, Ring. Reduces the number of items needed for set bonuses by 1 (to a minimum of 2).
  • DiabloWikiSanguinary Vambraces, Bracers. Legendary property: Chance on being hit to deal 1000% of your Thorns damage to nearby enemies.
  • Act Two

  • DiabloWikiCloak Of Deception, Cloak. Enemy missiles sometimes pass through you harmlessly.
  • DiabloWikiCoven’s Criterion, Shield. You take 45–60% less damage from blocked attacks.
  • DiabloWikiGloves of Worship, Gloves. Shrine effects last for 10 minutes.
  • DiabloWikiIllusory Boots, Boots. You may move unhindered through enemies.
  • Act Three

  • DiabloWikiAvarice Band, Ring. Each time you pick up gold, increase your Gold and Health Pickup radius by 1 yard for 10 seconds, stacking up to 30 times.
  • DiabloWikiBoots of Disregard, Boots. Gain 500 Life Regeneration per second for each second you stand still. This effect stacks up to 8 times.
  • DiabloWikiBurst Of Wrath, Two-Handed Axe. Killing enemies and destroying objects has a chance to grant 20% of your maximum primary resource.
  • DiabloWikiEnvious Blade, Dagger. Gain 100% Critical Hit Chance against enemies at full health.
  • DiabloWikiOverwhelming Desire, Amulet. Chance on hit to charm the enemy. While charmed, the enemy takes 35% more damage.
  • DiabloWikiInsatiable Belt, Belt. Picking up a Health Globe increases your maximum Life by 5% for 15 seconds, stacking up to 5 times.
  • DiabloWikiPride’s Fall, Helmet. Your resource costs are reduced by 30% after not taking damage for 5 seconds.
  • Act Four

    No legendary items are specially tied to Act Four Caches, but bounty bags earned in that act can contain the special legendary items from any of the other acts.

    Act Five

  • DiabloWikiPandemonium Loop, Ring. Enemies slain while Feared die in a bloody explosion and cause other nearby enemies to flee in Fear.
  • DiabloWikiDeath’s Bargain, Pants. Gain an aura of death that deals 750-1000% of your Life per Second to enemies within 20 yards. You no longer regenerate Life.
  • DiabloWikiSalvation, Crusader Shield. Legendary property: Blocked attacks heal you and your allies for 20–30% of the amount blocked.
  • DiabloWikiHelltrapper, Hand Crossbow. Legendary property: 7–10% chance on hit to summon a Spike Trap, Caltrops or Sentry
  • DiabloWikiSoulsmasher, Two-Handed Mace. When you kill an enemy, it explodes for 450–600% of your Life per Kill as damage to all enemies within 20 yards. You no longer benefit from your Life per Kill.
  • I don’t have that list memorized (yet), and every time I look at it I get a moment of, “oh yeah, I scored that one helm/boots/cloak and didn’t realize it was cache-only.” I’ve found cache-only items from every act, despite never split-farming them intensively (not since the beta, at least) but never the Act 1 Ring or the Act 2 Gloves that are the most useful/sought after.

    Because DiabloWikiRNG! Ever a cruel mistress.

    Update: Nevalistis posted some more info about Cache contents and when/how they are determined.

    To my knowledge, cache contents are determined when your character receives them, not when they are opened.
    Nevalistis: This should be the case. However, bear in mind that smart loot drops are not always guaranteed, even from Horadric Caches – there’s still a chance the items within do not roll appropriately for your character, though the chance for that is fairly low.

    I did bounties with my low level barb and opened them with my 70 wizard. The gear that dropped had int, but was the level of my barb.
    Nevalistis: As I mentioned, such coincidences can occur, but should generally be rare. I did experience something similar earlier today, just to check and make sure for myself. A cache obtained by my 70 Wizard gave my 60 Barbarian a set of level 70 shoulders with Strength, but the next cache I gave to my 60 Demon Hunter gave her a level 70 wand with Intelligence.

    It would take hundreds of tests to be absolutely certain on an individual level. Luckily, that’s something our Quality Assurance team has already been thoroughly over. ;) Items found within should be dependent on the Horadric Cache’s acquirer if they roll smart loot, and the Difficulty in which they are acquired or opened should have no bearing on the loot produced.

    I can’t say for certain, but all the evidence I’ve seen agrees with the second poster, and disagrees with Nevalistis. As I said higher up in this post, I recently opened 8 bags, all found by lvl 70 barb and DH, with my lvl 60 WD. And every item was level 70, and almost every item had INT as the stat. Plus there were 3 WD helms and a ceremonial dagger, but zero hand xbows, mighty weapons or belts, etc.

    I’d love to know for sure, so if you guys have done some testing share the results in comments, but as far as I can tell/test, 1) cache items set their Act of origin and level when they are spawned, but 2) the actual items and their stats are rolled when you open the cache, and smart drop for the class that opens them.