Recent Features

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.

Read More & Comment >>
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.

Read More & Comment >>

Botting and the Diablo 3 Economy: Facts and Theories

Posted 21 Nov 2012 by

It seems like fan concern about the spread of bots in Diablo 3 is reaching something of a critical mass, with more and more people complaining about the problem. I read some of a huge thread on the B.net forums earlier today, but it was mostly just a mass of conflicting claims and accusations, without any real agreement on the core issues. So I’m trying to figure those out, and just get a handle on what’s going on with bots, how profitable they are, and what their effect is on the Diablo 3 economy.

This post is an early attempt at that, with a bunch of observations and a few theories about what and why and how. I’m looking for reader feedback and insight, whether you agree or disagree, since more data = more information and better ability to form a valid opinion. I’ll read over the feedback and try to form a consensus on the main issues.

Botting in D2 was about items.

Pindlebots and others did thousands of runs looking for the very valuable uniques and sets, and runes. Those were low probability drops, but eventually they’d come and the items could be sold for RMT by 3rd party sites.

Botting in D3 is about gold.

It’s easy to run a bot with a high level character in GF gear on Nightmare, MP10, with big +gold pickup radius. Doesn’t have to do anything special or even pick up any items; just kill monsters endlessly and vacuum up the gold. I’ve done some experimental runs on Hell, MP10, with about 300% GF and I easily made 200-300k an hour. And I wasn’t optimized for GF, or playing some real gold intensive area, or rushing through just to get gold, etc. So I’d assume several million a day, per account, is not at all hard for a full time gold farming bots. Obviously that’s going to add up pretty rapidly.

Read on for much more, and add your thoughts in the comments.

What does gold sell for?

I just checked via the RMAH, and 10m gold on US Softcore is $4.20. (Checked a couple of 3rd party sites and 10m gold was around $3.60, so it’s cheaper since you’re not giving up 15% to Blizzard’s cut.) Ignoring the math on Blizzard’s cut from GAH sales, a 100m item is worth about $42, a 500m item is worth $210 and a 1b item is worth about $420. The RMAH sales cap is $250, so basically anything on the GAH selling for more than about 600m is priced higher than the RMAH can go. (I’m sure the Bobby surcharge is throwing off my figures a bit, once you figure a transaction fee to turn $ into gold, and then using that gold to buy the item, so someone who actually does the math feel free to correct.)

Why is gold valuable in D3?

Gold is useful in D3 since there’s an RMAH built into the game, and thus the gold can easily be sold for real $$, without needing to do 3rd party sites. Players who want to get the best gear spend $ to buy gold, which they use in the GAH where the best gear is now 500m or more. So unlike D2, you can make money without finding items; you just sell gold. Obviously if the gold botters can sell the items also, they’re just getting their gold right back, so they can sell it again.

The gold botting is thus driving crazy price increases on top end gear, since there’s perpetually gold being generated by the botting, and the $ coming into the economy via the RMAH on gold keeps the cycle going. On the other hand, the prices for mid range and low end gear have fallen through the floor, so players can easily afford gear they couldn’t have bought otherwise. Unclear how much the botting is interacting with the v1.05 increased drop rates, which is driving the prices of everything lower since there’s so much more good gear being found these days.

Does the RMAH create the botting?

Not really. As D2 proved, black market economy would exist, but it would be somewhat more complicated, with all the hacks and viruses and rip offs and such. So players would sell items directly for $, or they’d charge $ for gold which could then be spent in the GAH.

If there was no AH at all, we’d just be back to D2 with the entire $ economy existing through 3rd party sites. That might cut down on gold botting, since it wouldn’t be as easily transferred into $, but it wouldn’t change the underlying issue, which is that people are willing to pay $ for items and will find a way to do so.

Is Blizzard Trying to stop botting?

Hard to say. Botting is illegal, a clear violation of the EULA and ToS, and any account found to be using a bot or any other 3rd party program can be deleted at once.

Is Blizzard doing that? Are they running scans to try to find botters? Most people think not.

Blizzard has announced some player bans, but the recent bunch was for players on the Asian realm using a UI-mod that had nothing to do with botting. Blizzard has announced some botting and cheating bans in D3, but the general feeling of most players is that botting is growing in prevalence, and it’s not clear if Blizzard can’t stop it or just isn’t making an effort.

Is Blizzard hurt or helped by bots?

This is the most debatable point as it relies on conjecture and hypotheticals.

More bots = more gold = higher prices in the GAH = more gold sold in the RMAH. At this point it’s basically impossible to farm enough gold on your own to pay those top prices. You can only raise that much gold by botting, or by getting lucky on a great item find which you sell (for gold that largely came from botting), or by buying it in the RMAH.

On the other hand, the sheer amount of gold is causing prices to go so high that lots of players feel the top gear is impossibly out of their price range, and that leads to frustration and players quitting. And that obviously hurts total item sales.

So botting is raising prices and spurring gold sales on the RMAH, which makes Bobby richer. However the high prices and general vibe of “people are cheating” is making some players quit, which makes Bobby unhappy.

The net result is… ? I dunno; curious to hear other opinions.

Conclusion?

No conclusion here. Just looking for input and more theories. Add those, and if you think there are some other crucial botting issues I haven’t mentioned, do bring them up.

(Originally posted in the community forum; reply there or here.)