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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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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.
  • 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.
  • 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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Diablo 3 Forum Watch #96: The Promise of Runes

Posted 17 Jul 2013 by

We usually point to several interesting threads in a Diablo 3 Forum Watch, but this time I’m just highlighting one, with multiple quotes from it. The thread is The Promise of Runes, and in the OP and the 50+ replies a bunch of theory-crafting fans debate the lack of varied popularity in the skill runes in most skills in Diablo 3.

Here are some abbreviated quotes from the OP and some of the best points made in follow up. There are 52 replies to the thread now, so I’m not even scratching the surface here, so check out the thread if you’re interested in a lot more theory and criticism on this issue.

Yovargas: I decided to check out how many skills had at least 4 runes being used by at least 5% of players using the skill. The answer was pretty pathetic – there are only 4 such skills:

  • DiabloWikiWave of Light (Monk)
  • DiabloWikiTeleport (Wizard)
  • DiabloWikiPreparation (Demon Hunter)
  • DiabloWikiBola Shot – (this is maybe the game’s best balanced skill going by usage – 4 runes are used almost equally) (Demon Hunter)
  • The vast majority of skills are hugely dominated by a single rune (though only DiabloWikiZombie Charger has 4 runes used by literally nobody). The question is – does anybody have any realistic ideas of what could really be done about this? (As a side note – the Wizard clearly needs the most balancing help. A full ELEVEN of their skills are used by less than 3% of players, by FAR the worst of any class!)

    Bad Ash: I wonder if it would help if you could hotbar a skill more than once? This would allow people to use the same skill with a different rune on its own cooldown. I could see this being game breaking in C.C. but maybe leave C.C. skills out of it?


  • 1) >Some rune effects are holdovers from when the system had “colored” runes that caused a similar effect for each skill
  • 2) Some rune effects are clearly wacky and gimmicky
  • 3) There was clearly no thought given to actually balancing some of the runes for what players would want to accomplish while playing the game — in other words, some runes are the means to ends that don’t exist
  • 4) Some runes probably would’ve scaled better than they did when there were rune ranks, but shoving everything to rune rank 3 or 4 really gimped them
  • 5) I think this is the most important one — because of some kind of art assets / programming complexity crunch in alpha, beta, or some other pre-launch phase, there ended up being too many generic runes that bore everyone to sleep

  • Themeros: Runes as item drops with levels seemed like a great idea at first, but now I understand how much of a hassle it would be. Some runes would be so expensive and, due to RNG, so limited in supply that normal players would just end up using whatever runes they had, which would lead to frustration and rage. — I want my dual lazors!!!

    IvanE: I disagree that the skill system doesn’t allow any expression – no one is forcing you to use a cookie cutter build except your own internal comparison with everyone else. It’s perfectly fine to do something quirky and less effective, if that floats your boat. I do think, given my earlier posts, that both the itemization and the specific skills / runes themselves are not out-of-the-box enough to really give players a complete sandbox to come up with crazy ways to kill monsters. But I think Blizzard cared too much about balance for that (and failed anyway).

    I agree with a lot of the observations made in the thread, but just to do my usual contrarian thing and re-examine the entire premise… do we want skills to be balanced? Obviously we want multiple options for DiabloWikibuilds and play styles, but for some things to be good, other things have to be bad less good. That’s almost the central logic behind items, and maybe it applies to skills as well?

    It’s impossible for every skill in a game to be perfectly balanced (at least no game with complexity great than that of Rock-Paper-Scissors has done it yet), but is it more fun if a game has some meh skills, a lot of okay skills, some good skills, and a few great ones? Doesn’t that make it more fun when you reach the level req to start using one of the great skills? Or are skills somehow fundamentally different than items, and with skills you want balance that yields variety, rather than the peaks and valleys of quality that make items fun?

    Tagged As: | Categories: Forums, Skillrunes, Skills