It’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:
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!
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.
This is a more fundamental problem than the other two issues. Mere number tweaks would likely not result in this issue being resolved.
Regular readers will have noticed quite a few changes on Diablo: IncGamers since the launch of Reaper of Souls which was the motivation for us to make some of the changes we had been thinking about for a while.
When RoS launched we pushed the first stage of front page layout changes live. We know everyone likes to read their content in different ways so the site was changed to a similar layout to the main IncGamers site. Of course not every one will love that format so in the past week we set to work on the second phase which was giving you the option to read the content in the old format if you so desired.
In case you hadn’t spotted it, there are a couple of buttons above the news that allow you to switch to your preferred format.
Probably the toughest job we had to undertake was the forums. We have used the same forum system for around a decade and there were millions of posts to port over. It was important to us to make sure that threads from the old forum were not lost, we’d have hell to pay from you guys if they went missing Remember the great forum crash of 2003? That was not pretty.
So why the change? There were numerous reasons, the next version of the same forum was bloated with features that were useless to the community here. Spammers were also a consideration and the previous software was starting to struggle with the rise in spammers over the last couple of years. We needed a system that could pro- actively catch them and then make life easier for IncGamers moderators to deal with anything that managed to slip through.
The end results once we switched were good. The forums are now easier to use, faster and more robust. It’s taken some time to iron out issues with posts moved over from the old system but I would say we are 95% there with most things now. The forum is now easier to use and has more features to track new content additions.
One of the main issues we had during the change was with your logins. We have a custom login system that ties your forum account to the main site. When we moved forums that obviously broke down and had to be recreated. One of the issues we came up against was the inability for guests to post in the news and members who were logged in seeing a captcha. This was not acceptable so it took a few days for me to sort out but thankfully it now all works.
Regarding commenting on news, originally we had the news post into the community forum but as things move quite quickly here as far as content is concerned, we thought it best to create a separate forum for the news discussions. This reorganisation prevents any community forum discussion being lost in a pile of news. Your discussions are important after all.
Regarding accounts. Some of you have been registered here for over a decade and we have been helping members who have had login issues since the switch because they no longer have access to the email they originally registered with. If there are any of you still caught in that trap then we can sort it for you. Send an email here and we will deal with it.
With the new forums came new features, and something we’ve wanted to do for some time is highlight pro-active members and also award trophies for actions by the community. Elly sat down over a few days to come up with the points and reward system. You may have spotted the icons on threads but so you know how it works I have posted all of the trophies below for reference.
There are still a few things to do but the core updates are now in place. Your feedback on anything we do is much appreciated and a special thanks to the PALS who have helped make all the changes possible with their contributions.
Thread Starter -Points: 15 -You have started 5 Threads
Topic Raiser – Points: 45 -You have started 20 Threads
Town Cryer – Points: 90 -You have started 50 Threads
Confabulator – Points: 91 -You have started 80 Threads
Primary Source – Points: 1 – Somebody out there liked one of your posts.
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Diablo 3 Itemization BlogPosted 5 Mar 2013 by
Blizzard has posted a big blog covering all of their planned changes to the Diablo 3 Items system. It promises a lot of changes that players have long wished for, including new legendary items with creative and unique properties, improvements to overall item quality via better ranges of stats, fewer rare drops of better quality, and even an Identify All button that’ll finally allow Deckard Cain to stop rolling in his grave.
Here’s the start of the post; click through to read the whole thing.
Rarity = Power
One of the big things we want to focus on is making sure items that feel like they are rare and powerful are actually powerful . . . instead of just rare. The first and most obvious place for improvement here is Legendaries.
By design, Legendary items are going to drop far less often than Rare items, and we want that rarity to be reflected in their power. When a Legendary drops, the question that goes through a player’s mind should never be “is this a good item?” It should be “how awesome is it?” For example, if you are playing a Demon Hunter wielding a Rare crossbow and a Legendary crossbow drops, we want your reaction to be “Holy crap, YES!” not “*sigh* another Hellrack.” It’s a problem if players don’t want to bother identifying their Legendaries, let alone pick them up. We want to change this.
Lots of factors go into making an item good, and one of those factors is how high the stats on the item can roll. When the game first launched, an item’s potential stats were largely indicated by its item level. This made it so you’d know in advance whether or not an item was worth the trouble of identifying. In 1.0.5, we made it so that the stat ranges for affixes were based on the level of the monster or container that dropped the item rather than the item’s level, which created the possibility of more items rolling competitive values.
We’d like to continue with this line of reasoning and use it to make Legendaries more powerful. In the future, we plan to allow Legendary items to also roll their base stats (weapon DPS and armor value) at the level of the monster that dropped them. So, for example, if you found a Heart of Iron (db) from a level 63 monster, its base armor would be increased to that of Archon Armor and its stat ranges would roll at level 63. This gives us the opportunity to broaden the range of Legendary items, providing players with more diversity. Love Leoric’s Signet, but hate wearing a level 17 ring? Me too. Instead of farming Act II Normal to find a Leoric’s Signet, let’s go farm Inferno and get a level 63 version of the ring!
(Everything we’re suggesting for Legendaries also applies to Sets, too, by the way.)
Increased Item Diversity:
Item diversity is a topic that comes up a lot. Right now when people are talking about the best items in the game or looking for ways to improve their power they gravitate towards items with Critical Chance, Critical Damage, and Attack Speed. While these stats are great for boosting your damage they aren’t necessarily interesting or what we like to call “game changing.”
We want players to feel like entire new builds can open up if they get their hand on the right items. Glimmers of this idea are already in the game with The Three Hundredth Spear and Thing of the Deep. The plan is to embrace the idea and push them to more extremes. Potential future Legendary item ideas include a Voodoo Mask that increases pet damage, a Barbarian set that makes Call of the Ancients last until they die (after we give them full pet survivability), a Wizard Orb that allowed for two Hydras to be active at once, or the “Ethereal” boots idea I posted here. While these specific ideas may not make it into the game, they are good examples of the kinds of game changing effects we want to introduce to items. It will take time, but our goal is to try to provide players with compelling alternatives to trifecta items when talking about what items they want to acquire.
Less is More
Between Paragon levels, Nephalem Valor stacks, and all the other assorted buffs and bonuses, it’s possible to find a tremendous amount of Rare items during any given play session. But the quality of these Rare items just isn’t where it needs to be, so even though players see a lot of them, they no longer feel special. When you identify hundreds of Rares and only a small percentage are worth equipping or selling, those items become a burden rather than something to get excited about. “Great. Now I have to identify them all, read their stats, and I’m probably going to salvage all of them.” I feel your pain.
We want to make it fun and rewarding to hunt down new items through play, and really instill the feeling that your next awesome item could come from anywhere, and is just around the corner. We need to get rid of some of the clutter first, so we plan to reduce the frequency at which Rare items drop down the road.
Before anyone panics and posts an angry comment in the forums, this doesn’t mean we want players to earn even fewer good items. It just means we don’t feel it’s necessary to present the player with hundreds of bad Rares for every one that they might want. As an example, suppose items currently roll between 1-100 Intelligence. Now, imagine that we dropped 25% as many items, but the Intelligence range was instead somewhere around 75-100. In the end, you’d find fewer items, but more of the items you find would be worth equipping. That’s our goal.
(On the topic of identifying hundreds of Rares, it’s worth adding that while most of this blog is about overall item philosophy and our goals down the road, one of the short-term changes we’re making is adding an “Identify All” option, which should be coming in 1.0.8.)
Gold Sinks Should be Exciting
We frequently discuss the Diablo economy, as we want players to feel that gold is a valuable commodity, useful in ways beyond just the auction house. We don’t want out of control inflation, but we also don’t think that taxing players is the proper approach. Ultimately, we want to provide players with things that they are excited to spend their hard-earned gold on.
The most concrete example of how we’re supporting this philosophy would be the crafting recipes we introduced in patch 1.0.7. While they aren’t meant to be the silver bullet for all economic concerns, they provide more avenues for people to spend their gold to receive something they can be happy about—in this case, potential upgrades for their character or alts.
Other avenues we want to explore include providing players with vanity options or potential ways to differentiate themselves from their friends or other characters (i.e. character customization options in terms of gear). We are also exploring ways to make crafting more exciting by adding not just more ways to make appealing items, but also introducing ways to modify existing items.
Farm Monsters, Not the Auction House
The Auction House is a new addition to the Diablo franchise. And, while it serves many purposes for our players and helps to keep the economy fluid, some would argue that it has done more harm to the game than good. There is value to be had in providing players a way to freely exchange unwanted items for gold, or giving Demon Hunters an easy means to sell unwanted rubies in order to purchase emeralds, but the question has to be asked: is what the auction house provides worth what it took away from some players?
If the “right” way for some people to play the game changes from killing monsters to camping the auction house, is the game better off for it? Ultimately we don’t think it is, but we also don’t want to take something away that has become such an enjoyable part of the game for others. So, the question instead becomes: how can we refocus the end game away from farming the auction house back to farming monsters? It’s a complicated issue, but one we are committed to addressing.
The first solution always presented when we discuss this problem is “Why don’t you just get rid of the auction house?” and while completely removing the feature would in fact fix the problem it created, it would also create a void that the auction house was originally designed to address. For example, we don’t want players to feel like the only way to trade with other people is by sitting in chat and spamming “WTS [item link]” and “WTB [awesome item]” all day. This is definitely not ideal.
There are a number of ideas for how to address this long term that don’t include removing the auction house outright, and most of the ideas are centered around giving players more ways to find items they are excited about:
The list goes on and, as with all design, nothing is ever final. This is just a snapshot of what we’re working on currently with regard to itemization, and we hope to provide more specifics as we get closer to implementing these changes into the live game. In the meantime, we’d love to hear what you think about our approach, since much of what’s cited above has been inspired by your feedback.
Travis Day is a Game Designer for Diablo III. His brother, Morgan, also works at Blizzard Entertainment. They’re kind of like the Venture Bros, except without the super violent, super secret agent bodyguard. Go Team Blizzard!
Good news, in promissory form. It’ll be even better when/if some of these things get into the game and we can see them, taste them, and pass them through our small intestine. Soon?™
I have one easy legendary improving idea not mentioned here; higher quality affixes that are legendary only. So in the random affix slots on legendaries you could get say +150-200 Strength, while Rares of that item type could only get +1-100 Strength, or there’s an affix that grants +125-200 Crit Damage and +5-10% Crit Change, while Rares can only get 1-100 Crit Damage. I think that would help with the vast majority of legendaries that aren’t any good without a great roll and might even make some of the legendaries with no chance of use to be viable.
For instance, if you find a legendary one-handed xbow you have some hope that a great roll on a Calamity could be viable, while you know 99.99% of Dawns and Balefire Casters are junk. But what if the Dawn or the Balefire Caster could roll with +187 CD and +9% CC? You’d only get that once in a million drops, but those items would spice up the overall economy, and it would certainly add to your excitement during the ID process.