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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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A Guide to Diablo: IncGamers site changes – Here’s what we’ve done

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.

change view

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.

hardrock

Trophies

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.

Threads

Thread StarterThread Starter -Points: 15 -You have started 5 Threads
Topic RaiserTopic Raiser – Points: 45 -You have started 20 Threads
Town CryerTown Cryer – Points: 90 -You have started 50 Threads
ConfabulatorConfabulator – Points: 91 -You have started 80 Threads

Setting the Agenda Setting the Agenda – Points: 120 -You have started 120 Threads

Likes

Primary Source Primary Source – Points: 1 – Somebody out there liked one of your posts.

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Diablo 3 Patch v1.0.7 Preview

Posted 12 Jan 2013 by

Here it is, the eagerly awaited Diablo 3 patch v1.0.7 preview. This is pretty lengthy so read on for the all the details.

Patch 1.0.7 is currently under development and many of the changes included in that update will soon be on the PTR. Before we hit you with patch notes, though (and a new client to download), here’s a preview of what’s coming.

The Scorched Chapel: Dueling

As Jay discussed in his PvP update, patch 1.0.7 will introduce dueling, allowing players to test their mettle against fellow Nephalem. Here’s a quick rundown of how dueling will work in Diablo III as well as some insight into our design philosophy for the system.

How it works

  • To duel another player, you’ll need to speak with Nek the Brawler at the inn in New Tristram
  • Speaking with Nek will take you and your party to the Scorched Chapel, a new zone designed specifically for player combat
  • This zone has custom geometry and features four different areas: the church, the graveyard, the river, and the lake
  • Dueling currently supports up to four players in a Free-For-All format, which means you can battle your friends either one-on-one, three-player FFA, or a full four-player FFA

Our intent is to provide players a safe, opt-in location where they can fight one another for bragging rights (or maybe science) without the potential for griefing as it existed in Diablo II.

Diablo 3 v1.0.7 PvPDiablo 3 v1.0.7 PvP

The game doesn’t keep score and there are no objectives. We wanted dueling to be as simple and straightforward as possible, so we created a minimalist system — we know that even without rewards and objectives, some players just want to beat each other up. Some matchups may be one-sided, and we don’t expect that battles will be necessarily balanced. But that’s okay, because dueling in Diablo III is more about kicking ass and taking names in a no-holds-barred sort of way, and this design certainly allows you to accomplish that.

Additional Info:

  • If you die in the dueling world, you will be resurrected in the dueling zone
  • Death is not permanent in the dueling zone, even for Hardcore characters
  • You don’t take any durability damage while in the dueling zone
  • When you’re done dueling you can take a portal out or use your Town Portal to return to town.

Stay Classy, Sanctuary

Wizard

The DiabloWikiWizard is seeing a damage buff to skills such as Arcane Orb, Blizzard, and Shock Pulse. We’re also making other small changes such as allowing Illusionist to reset the cooldown of Slow Time and increasing the slow effect of Temporal Flux from 30% for 2 seconds to 60% for 3 seconds.

Monk

The DiabloWikiMonk is getting a big damage buff to all Spirit Spenders. One of the most common uses for Spirit is to recast Mantra of Conviction-Overawe for the 3 second bonus.  While this is totally legitimate, we want to provide alternate uses for your extra Spirit. As a result, we are greatly buffing all the damage-dealing Spirit Spenders to try and provide an alternate use for your Spirit.

Although the Wizard and Monk are receiving the most changes this patch, that doesn’t mean we feel the other classes are perfect. Other classes have received more substantial changes in previous patches, and we still have lots of ideas for the Barbarian, Demon Hunter, and Witch Doctor, but constantly changing class skills can often do more harm than good.

Item Hunting

One of the most common requests we get from players is that they’d like to find more items (through drops or crafting) that are as awesome as those that they can get from the Auction House. The Auction House has its advantages: you get to pick the exact stats that you want, it can be thrilling to find a bargain, and if you find a cool drop that your character can’t use, the Auction House provides a way to earn gold to put toward an item you prefer. But it has some downsides. The biggest downside is that some players find it more rewarding to collect items from slain monsters or crafting.

Patch 1.0.5 and the DiabloWikiInfernal Machine event were successful in this regard, particularly with the DiabloWikiHellfire Ring reward. The Hellfire Ring is account-bound, and all the reagents to make it are also account-bound. So, you can’t just go to the DiabloWikiAuction House and buy a ring that someone else had found or made—you have to farm the reagents and ultimately craft the Hellfire Ring yourself. And as you play through the event more, you have additional opportunities to roll new Hellfire Rings with potentially better stats (or stats that are more suited to your play style and needs).

New Crafting Recipes

We feel like the DiabloWikiHellfire Ring was a good first step and would like to introduce more items like it. So, working off this design, in 1.0.7 we’re adding a new set of Rare crafting recipes that will create account-bound gloves, pants, wrists, a chest piece, and an amulet.

These new items will have six affixes and feature a primary stat (Str, Dex, Int, Vit) that extends higher than what is currently available in the respective slots. The items will also require an account-bound crafting reagent called Demonic Essence, which drops from Elite monsters in Inferno.  Much like the reagents in the DiabloWikiInfernal Machine event, the chance of getting a Demonic Essence will increase at higher Monster Power levels. Currently we are planning for a 20% chance to drop at Monster Power 0, and each DiabloWikiMonster Power will increase the chance of Demonic Essence dropping by 15% (MP1 will be 23%, MP2 will be 26.45%, etc. up to 80.91% at MP10).  These are the numbers we’ll be going to PTR with and are subject to change.

The Archon Armor recipe (the chest piece) can be purchased from Squirt the Peddler for 1.5 million gold. The other plans will drop randomly in the world, but also have a 50% chance to drop off the following bosses when you have five stacks of DiabloWikiNephalem Valor:

  • Skeleton King
  • Spider Queen
  • Maghda
  • Zoltun Kulle
  • Ghom
  • Cydaea
  • Rakanoth
  • Izual

 New Gems: The Marquise

In addition to new items, we’re also adding a new tier of gems for those who really want to push their character farther. The new tier is called “Marquise” and most of its stats are in line with the current gem progression.

We also took the opportunity to modify the Ruby effect in weapons. At the moment, the Critical Hit damage bonus provided by the Emerald is a clear choice for anybody looking to do more damage with their weapon.  The new tier Ruby is a significant bump up that should make it the preferred choice for those who favor attack speed over Critical Hit chance, or for those who use skills which do not benefit as much from Critical Hit such as Sentry and Hydra.

Players often ask why their Sentry or Hydra doesn’t inherit their Critical Hit Chance and Critical Hit Damage. The answer is that we want players to be able to build their characters in different ways, and we would rather Critical Hit Chance and Critical Hit Damage weren’t always automatically the right answer. While this is not something that will change overnight, “different stats for different builds” is a high-level design goal and introducing a very strong Ruby is a step in the right direction.

The current design is that these gems can be combined at the Jeweler for a substantial reagent and gold cost (3 Radiant Star gems, 20 million gold, and 1 Demonic Essence), and the designs will drop randomly from level 63 monsters around the world.

Monster Power Changes

Overall, we’ve been very happy with DiabloWikiMonster Power. Players are playing at a variety of Monster Power levels and upping the challenge. Different builds are of varying effectiveness at different Monster Power levels and we’re seeing a lot of build diversity there.

We do think there are two clear areas where we can improve: making Monster Power available in Public Games, and increasing the XP bonuses for players in Inferno.

Monster Power in Public Games

When the Monster Power system was first introduced, we were wary of making it available for Public Games for two reasons. One, we didn’t want to reduce the pool of games that players could be matched into. And two, we wanted to avoid the potential group tension that could occur if somebody joined a Public Game at a Monster Power level higher than what they’re ready for. (For example, you wouldn’t want a severely undergeared character to join your Monster Power 6 game and constantly die. That can be very hindering to an otherwise powerful group.)

What we realized is that 1) choosing a Public Game and ending up in a game by yourself, but at the Monster Power you want is still preferable than not being able to play in a Public Game at all, and 2) undergeared characters can pretty much roadblock groups in Inferno anyway (if they really want to). We feel that the damage we’re doing to public games by not supporting Monster Power is greater than the potential damage we’d be doing by increasing Public Game waiting times or exposing Monster Power groups to possible leechers.

So, in patch 1.0.7 we’re going to be rolling out Monster Power support in public games. You need to have the Monster Power option enabled to use it, of course—same as for making private Monster Power games. Once the feature is enabled, you can choose a Public Game and set a desired Monster Power level from the dropdown. From there, the game will work to match you into a group with the same Monster Power level selected.

Experience Bonuses in Inferno

We’re increasing the experience reward for playing on Monster Power levels 1-10 in 1.0.7. Before I go into what’s changing, though, here’s a little note on design philosophy. . . .

People often ask what the intention of Monster Power is. Am I supposed to just turn the Monster Power up as high as I can until I die? No, not really. Just because you’re able to beat something doesn’t mean that it’s optimal. In fact, we think there’s a real risk that if the most efficient path for XP or item farming involves playing on the highest Monster Power setting available regardless of the gameplay experience, then the game might actually become a lot less fun for a lot of people.

To take an extreme example: What if we made every monster on Monster Power 10 worth 5000x more experience? In that case, killing even one monster in Monster Power 10 would be worth hours of play at Monster Power 1. But is that what’s best for the game? Players who are looking to be efficient would likely play on Monster Power 10, but they’d be forced into a smaller number of defensive builds. Many players are able to kill things on Monster Power 10 already, but it might require them to use a skill build they don’t enjoy as much and the game can start to feel extremely tedious as you spend a lot of time attacking a monster that takes forever to die. We don’t want to overly-incentivize players into that kind of play style, and making Monster Power 10 the most efficient would undoubtedly cause this to happen.

We believe that Diablo shines when you can spend the majority of your time slaughtering hordes of enemies and then having that punctuated by the occasional difficulty spike either in the form of a particularly challenging set of normal monsters (like an elite pack) or a boss. With that in mind, what we want to do with Monster Power is set the reward so that there are incentives for playing at a higher level, but not make the incentives so powerful that players feel like they need to make the game less enjoyable in order to achieve a faster reward rate.

In line with all of that, we’re currently planning to increase XP bonuses for Monster Power levels to the following values:

  • MP 1: 25% (up from 10%)
  • MP 2: 50% (up from 20%)
  • MP 3: 80% (up from 30%)
  • MP 4: 120%(up from 45%)
  • MP 5: 165% (up from 60%)
  • MP 6: 215% (up from 75%)
  • MP 7: 275% (up from 95%)
  • MP 8: 340% (up from 115%)
  • MP 9: 420% (up from 135%
  • MP 10: 510% (up from 160%)

These numbers are still being worked on. We’re going to monitor how things play out on PTR and make adjustments as necessary.

Monster Changes

And speaking of monsters, we’re making some changes to a few affixes this patch:

Reflects Damage

We’ve adjusted the Reflects Damage mechanic. Monsters with this affix will now pulse a damage reflection shield on and off. While the shield is down, the monster does not reflect damage. When the reflect shield is on, the monster will Reflect Damage the way it does now on live. The shield has a strong visual associated with it so you’ll know it is reflecting. (We’ve also made it so that pet damage is no longer reflected back to the player.)

Molten and Plagued

We’ve made changes to Molten and Plagued, too. Molten often feels like one of the more threatening ground-based damage effects, and Plagued feels a bit low. So, we’re reducing the damage from Molten packs and increasing the damage from Plagued.

Quality of Life Changes

  • We’re removing the incrementing resurrection timer on consecutives deaths. With the removal of enrage timers in the previous patch and the emphasis on players selecting their level of challenge via the Monster Power system, long resurrection timers no longer serve a useful purpose. It will now be a flat 5 seconds in Softcore. (The resurrection timer in Hardcore remains unchanged. :D)
  • We’re also increasing the base pickup radius by a small amount. The intention here is to ensure that players who are actively trying to pick up a piece of gold are able to get it. The current radius felt just slightly too small, such that even when you ran quickly past a piece of gold on purpose, you would sometimes fail to pick it up.  We still want a meaningful pickup radius to be a gearing choice, so the buff to the base pickup radius is modest. Many players may not even notice. For those who are very meticulous with health globes, the new radius is still small enough that you can avoid picking up a health globe in melee range if you so choose.

PTR Coming Soon. . .

These are really just a few of the topline systems changes we’ll be making in 1.0.7, and we hope you’re looking forward to them as much as we are. This patch will be on the PTR very soon, and we encourage you to participate, test out what’s new, and let us know what you think!

–Wyatt

Now that PvP is on the way, the PvP forum is live and kicking so head over and share ideas, impressions starts and more when it eventually goes live.