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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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Guide: Legendary Gems

legendary gems guideLegendary Gems were first officially revealed in the Patch 2.1 preview blog back in June of this year.   They will be added to Reaper of Souls in Patch 2.1, and are currently undergoing testing on the PTR.

The gems add special bonuses when socketed in rings and amulets (only on Characters and not on Followers), and can be upgraded in power via DiabloWikiUrshi, the NPC who appears after Greater Rifts are cleared.

While the developers are calling them “legendary gems” these socketables have nothing in common with regular DiabloWikigems in stats or appearance, and are more analogous to the Rainbow Facet unique jewels of Diablo 2. The main difference in Diablo 3 is that these gems can only be socketed in jewelry, and the way the gems can be upgraded to improve their functions over time.

Legendary Gems Listing

While the Legendary Gems are still undergoing development on the DiabloWikiPTR, their stats and bonuses are changing constantly. A major revision was created on July 15, 2014 with new or upgraded stats for almost every gem. The following are the most current details about Legendary Gems.

 

DiabloWikiBane of the Powerful
bane of the powerful
  • Gain 30% increased damage for 20 seconds after killing an elite pack.
  • Upgrade rank grants: +1 second buff duration.
  • Rank 50 unlocks: Gain 20% bonus damage to elites.
DiabloWikiBane of the Trapped
bane of the trapped
  • Increase damage against enemies under control-impairing effects by 20%.
  • Upgrade rank grants: +0.5% damage.
  • Rank 50 unlocks: Gain an aura that reduces the movement speed of enemies within 15 yards by 30%.
DiabloWikiBoon of the Hoarder
  • 30% chance on killing an enemy to cause an explosion of gold.
  • Upgrade rank grants: +1% chance on kill.
  • Rank 50 unlocks: Gain 30% increased movement speed for 3 seconds after picking up gold.
 DiabloWikiEnforcer
 enforcer
  • Increase the Critical Hit Chance of your pets by 20%.
  • Upgrade rank grants: +0.4% Critical Hit Chance. Max +20% upgrade (+40% total).
  • Rank 50 unlocks: Your pets are unkillable.
Bliz Note: As was discussed in another thread, allowing this this gem to rank up to +100% pet Crit would likely cause undesired gearing issues and probably be a little out of line.
DiabloWikiGem of Efficacious Toxin
gem of efficacious toxin
  • Poison all enemies hit for 1000% weapon damage over 10 seconds.
  • Upgrade rank grants: +20% weapon damage over 10 seconds.
  • Rank 50 unlocks: All enemies you poison take 10% increased damage from all sources.
DiabloWikiGogok of Swiftness
 gogok of swiftness
  • 50% chance on hit to gain Swiftness, increasing your Attack Speed by 2% for 3 seconds. This effect stacks up to 10 times.
  • Upgrade rank grants: +1% chance.
  • Rank 50 unlocks: Gain 2% Cooldown Reduction per stack of Swiftness.
 DiabloWikiInvigorating Gemstone
 invigorating gemstone
  • While under any control-impairing effects, reduce all damage taken by 30%.
  • Upgrade rank grants: +1%. Maximum +50% upgrade (80% total).
  • Rank 50 unlocks: Heal for 20% of maximum life when hit by control-impairing effect.
 DiabloWikiMirinae, Teardrop of Starweaver
 Mirinae, Teardrop of Starweaver
  • 15% chance on hit to smite a nearby enemy for 1000% weapon damage as Holy.
  • Upgrade rank grants: +20% weapon damage.
  • Rank 50 unlocks: Smite a nearby enemy every 5 seconds.
 DiabloWikiMoratorium
 Moratorium
  • 30% of all damage taken is instead staggered and dealt to you over 3 seconds.
  • Upgrade rank grants: +0.1 second to the stagger duration.
  • Rank 50 unlocks: 10% chance on kill to clear all staggered damage.
 DiabloWikiPain Enhancer
 Pain Enhancer
  • Critical hits cause the enemy to bleed for 500% weapon damage as Physical over 3 seconds.
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Blizzard on Diablo 3 Patch v1.08 and Monster Density

Posted 6 Mar 2013 by

Fresh from the item blog, the Diablo 3 devs have posted some follow ups on other coming features in Diablo 3 DiabloWikiPatch 1.08, in addition to the item blog info (which is mostly slated for post-v1.08).

WOW, I can’t wait for this patch. I will be downloading the PTR the minute it is available. This actually has me ecstatic. It might bring more of my friends to the game as well!
Lylirra: Note that (as of now) only the changes we’ve confirmed as being “for 1.0.8″ will be going into 1.0.8 — so things like Identify All, monster density balancing, etc.

The other changes mentioned in Travis’ blog are being discussed for after 1.0.8 ships and are still in the planning phase of development.

I would like an update on monster density being increased through acts other then act 3, however. It’s nice to have new things to hunt for, but I would also like to enjoy looking for them in acts 1, 2, and 4 without having to waste time traveling dead spots looking for things to kill.
Lylirra: We’re looking at making some adjustments to monster density, and right now we’d like to see if we can get those changes in with 1.0.8. The trick with adjusting density is that, by doing so, we could inadvertently create another “most optimal” route in Act I, II, or IV. It’s the kind of thing we’ll be doing a lot of internal testing on before hand, and likely something we’ll want to have up for additional testing on the PTR.

Personally, I think there should be different optimal routes. The best route for farming xp, items, specific items, etc. I’d like to have something other to kill then just Keywarden and A3. Although, density needs to be increased drastically in some of those locations. Just saying :D I like variations and different reasons to hunt different things.
Wyatt Cheng: Yup! Pretty much this.

We’re spending time working on monster density in Acts I, II and IV because while optimal routes are inevitable, we want things to be close enough that options exist.

Currently we have a situation where a small number of specific runs are twice (or more) as effective as your average run. This margin is too large and overshadows other factors. Our goal is to make the monster density in Inferno close enough that factors such as your skill choices and gear level start to become more relevant. Let’s suppose you were trying to optimize XP/hour. What if a cookie-cutter Archon build on MP1 had one optimal run, but an SNS Wizard on MP3 had a different optimal run? Different areas also have different monsters with different abilities. Some classes have an easier time dealing with particular monster types, this can cause the “optimal run” to shift as well. If we get the overall densities closer, these other factors will start to become more relevant rather than the current situation where the raw monster density of a run dominates all other factors.

When things are close enough, you may try a run that is a little less XP/hour if it means increased DiabloWikiDemonic Essences. Maybe you just really enjoy the art of the Act I jail. Maybe you just want some variety and haven’t been to an area in a while. Maybe you want to do a full play through in co-op with a friend. It’s a matter of degree — these aren’t tradeoffs most players would make when the run results in a 50% loss in efficiency, but if the difference is 5-15% then these other factors come into consideration.

So, like Lylirra said, our goal is to avoid creating a new “most optional” run, and instead provide players with an environment that allows them to choose from multiple different options.

Travis Day: Ok I’ve finally caught up on all the responses in every location I could find them! This blog was written a while ago and between when I wrote it and when we released it a lot more relevant ideas came up so I want to mention a couple of them. I’m going to keep this short and to the point so I can get back to working on actually improving the game instead of talking about it. ;)

Below is a list of things that players can hopefully expect to see as soon as patch 1.0.8.

Click through for the rest of Travis Day’s post, and additional blue follow ups on what we can expect to see in the next patches.

Mob density

Acts 1, 2, and 4 will be receiving some adjustments in Inferno difficulty games. We want to try to make all of the acts as comparable as possible so that players don’t feel they always have to farm the same areas of the game repeatedly, diversity is the spice of life.

Multi Craft

We want to make it easier to craft lots of items, so we plan on giving players the ability to specify how many of an item they want to craft and then to make that many. Want to make 20 Archon Shoulders of Dexterity? Cool, push the button and watch it go.

AH tooltip compare

Ever wish you could compare the item you are thinking about buying with the item you are wearing? You want it, we want it, and we hope to have it in game soon.

In addition to the changes we introduce in 1.0.8 we also have longer term plans to address issues that need more attention. I mentioned a lot of these long term plans in the blog and outlined some of our philosophies that will drive the itemization of Diablo forward. One of those ideas that I saw mentioned repeatedly in response to the blog is the fact that class specific items can roll non class appropriate primary stats, we have plans to change this down the road. While random really is at the core of Diablo in so many ways this is certainly one of the areas where it has no potential to benefit players. Wizards don’t use Strength, Demon Hunters don’t use Intelligence so let’s just remove those as potential random attributes on Orbs and Quivers respectively.

I am assuming this will include gems. I hope.
Travis Day: Sure does!

edit: You talking about the itemization stuff in the blog? thats it?
what about class balance?

Lylirra: For right now (since 1.0.8 is still being developed), we aren’t going to have a lot of additional details to share about what’s included in the patch. As development continues, though, we’ll be sure to share more information — most likely in the form of a patch preview blog like we’ve done in the past, as well as just talking about stuff in here in the forums.

The distinction I was making with my previous post is that most of the changes Travis’ discussed in his blog aren’t coming with 1.0.8, but are instead being planned for sometime after 1.0.8 ships.

Sorry but it is hard to follow. What features or changes are not included in patch 1.0.8 ?
Lylirra: No worries. :) The only changes we’ve confirmed to be working on for 1.0.8 so far are Identify All, a new multi-craft option, monster density adjustments, and AH comparison tooltips. Travis sums everthing up quite nicely here.

The other changes in Travis’ blog are being discussed for after 1.0.8.

Lots of coming changes and more promised for the future. The monster density thing is certainly needed, but I wonder (once again) why they don’t just add some bonus dungeons, bottomless or at least very deep, into Acts 1 and 2 (and maybe even 4, if anyone cares?) with the same sort of architecture as the dungeons in those acts and much higher monster density.

I wrote a whole article about this back in January, so I’m not going to recap it here, but adding more monster density to existing areas is problematic for a lot of reasons. It’ll make the first play through for new players unbalanced, lots of the dungeons in A1 and A2 are too narrow/small to be profitable even with higher density, lots of A1 monsters are so slow and easy they’ll be motionless exp pots, it doesn’t do anything to fix the boring static level layout issue, it messes up the balance and design of the areas and the story, etc.

New multi-level dungeons, for Inferno only, accessed via some special area in town ala the Hermit’s Shack, etc… seems such an easy solution. Which might be why they don’t seem to be considering it.