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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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Blizzcon Interview Exclusive: Big Magic Find Nerfs Coming in Reaper of Souls

Posted 13 Nov 2013 by

Here’s a second excerpt/tease from our exclusive Blizzcon 2013 interview with Jason Regier and Travis Day. The full interview and transcript will be posted later today. For my last question I asked about DiabloWikiMagic Find and the big changes it’s getting in Reaper of Souls and the new DiabloWikiParagon 2.0 system. Players have spent months wondering about the apparent removal of the current passive Paragon level bonuses to Magic Find and DiabloWikiGold Find, and the relatively minor role that Magic Find appears to play in the new Paragon Points system. (MF is in the Adventure Tab, and as of the Blizzcon demo, each paragon point would add 2% Magic Find, for a maximum bonus of +100% Magic Find.)

The devs replied to my question with a definitive and fairly surprising answer. There are big magic find nerfs coming in Reaper of Souls, and they don’t mean nerfs to the numbers, they mean nerfs to the value of the property on the whole.

Here’s the full quote.

Flux: Okay, Magic Find and Gold Find via Paragon Points. One of the things you guys said when you were first adding in the Paragon Levels was that you didn’t want Magic Find to be an essential property on equipment, so you were going to give it via passive bonuses. That philosophy appears to be completely gone in the new Paragon system. You can add Magic Find, but it’s in the tab competing with what… Movement Speed, Pickup Radius, and Resource regen, I think? And most of my chars would like all three of those more than Magic Find. So is Magic Find going to become more important on gear? Are you switching how it works on gear?

Travis Day: Actually, we’ve made some changes to how Magic Find works in the game. One of the biggest things we did with that… for example if I have 100% Magic Find from my gear, the cap today is 400%. Or is it 300%?

Flux: It’s 300% from gear and you can add more from…

Travis: *laughing* A year and a half working on the expansion, and I don’t even remember….

So basically Magic Find will provide less and less of a return the higher the quality of the item is. [He means the item being dropped and affected by your character's Magic Find.]

So you actually only get 10% of your Magic Find applies to the legendary. So, since it isn’t that impactful a stat anymore, we didn’t feel like we needed all the restrictions we had on it. And we no longer needed to automatically just give it to everyone. Like we can’t have two people with like, five times different reward schedule, like on top of your character efficiency and the skills and how familiar you are with the game… we wanted to really diminish that gap. [The gap between the haves with amazing equipment, and the have-nots.]

As a result we’ve made some changes to Magic Find, and we took it out of Paragon since it’s no longer as mandatory as it used to be.

MF Diminishing Returns in D2.

MF Diminishing Returns in D2.

This is a huge nerf to the importance and value of Magic Find, but it’s not an entirely new approach to the modifier. Magic Find in D2X had diminishing returns where your character’s full value of MF applied to finding Blues, but progressively less and less of it worked for higher quality items. That decrease scaled with your total MF though, and even with 1000% MF you still got 200% of that applied to finding Uniques.

I didn’t argue the issue during the interview, but reading it now I disagree with this approach and think it’s the third (and perhaps final) way they’ve screwed up Magic Find in Diablo III. Click through for more debate on that, but first, the vote:


Your opinion on the planned reduction of Magic Find importance in RoS?

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The three (so far) stages of Magic Find in Diablo 3:

  1. MF was a mess at D3V’s launch since it was just another stat on items, appearing randomly on almost all item types with the same potential max value. The lack of specialized MF legendaries and sets (where you would have given up other valuable stats to gain big MF) compounded the failure.

  2. The DiabloWikiParagon system swung the system to the other extreme by giving every character maximum MF once they grinded their way to a high enough level. This retained value for MF, but made it impossible to raise high enough to really help with Legendary finding (+300%) without grinding to high levels, and then gave high level characters maximum MF without them making any effort or equipment sacrifice to obtain it, making the rich richer.
  3. The coming RoS change swings back in the other direction by nerfing the bonus of MF for Legendaries (which is all anyone really wants MF for) almost to nothing. MF is further reduced in importance by the general drop rate buffs of Loot 2.0, and it seems likely to be the least-important bonus in the Adventure Tab.

The ideal purpose of Magic Find seems quite simple to me, and I remain puzzled why it’s never yet been properly utilized in Diablo 3. As I see it, Magic Find is a bonus on items that players can choose if they want to improve their chances of finding great gear, at the cost of other affixes that would boost their killing speed and/or survival. It’s a way to customize your play experience and style, and is optional. It should provide better odds of finding better gear; not so good that you’re guaranteed, or that high MF feels mandatory to make a profit (that’s how D3V works today, for most players), but if you pursue it you should be rewarded for your efforts.

So the whole issue is balancing the reward. Adding MF gear should be something of a sacrifice of DPS/Toughness, and the challenge is to balance the gains players get from MF with the cost of enabling it. And the coolest thing is the possibility of items like DiabloWikiWealth or DiabloWikiChance Guards or DiabloWikiGoldwrap, where players can choose to use gear that’s intentionally much worse (for killing and survival) in order to raise their MF. That’s fun, that’s a trade off, and that’s exactly how the item game is supposed to work in Diablo. It’s boring if everyone just tries to get the best DPS/Toughness, and it’s boring if everyone finds the same quality of items, whether because MF does nothing, or because it does everything.

Boring was Magic Find phase one in D3V, Everything was phase two, and Nothing is coming in phase three. Will we ever see a phase four and Something? Not crossing my fingers…