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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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Ring of Royal Grandeur Farming Exploit?

You want? You take!

You want? You take!

The DiabloWikiRing of Royal Grandeur (armory) has become the most sought after item in Diablo 3, as its legendary affix is basically mandatory for all end game gearing decisions, given the power of partial Item Set bonuses. The hard part is finding one, as it’s one of the five legendary items that can only be obtained from Act One Horadric Caches. This is good in a way, as it’s the sole remaining item/profit-based reason players have to do *anything* other than RiftRiftRift. (Given the game’s design direction in recent months, I’m frankly surprised the RoRG hasn’t been turned into a Greater Rift Guardian drop.)

Most players hunt RoRGs with brute force, by grinding hundreds of Act One bounties as quickly as possible, which usually means split-farming on Normal difficulty. That’ll work, eventually, but is there a better way? A user in our Diablo 3 community forum named Horadrimm says yes, there’s a trick to it, by following a method players are calling the “Junger Rules.” Quote:

I got 5 RORGS with very minimal effort and so can you!!

How it works: The game has a pity timer, meaning that if you don’t get a legendary within an hour or so it drops one for you automatically. The goal the aforementioned method of farming is to ensure that pity drop is in your horadric cache and not in the world.

What to do:

  • Do not kill any mobs except those required for objectives.
  • Do not kill goblins.
  • Do not open chests including resplendent chests.
  • Do not destroy breakables (pots, barrels, looting bodies etc).
  • Do not pop fortune shrines.
  • Do not kill mobs from required cursed chest and shrine event objectives until the timer has run out.
  • Avoiding a legendary drop in the world increases the chance the pity timer drops one in your cache.

    First off, the guy who invented this was apparently named Junger, so now it’s called the “Junger Rules.” Which is fine, but how the hell did they avoid the obvious pun and call it the “Junger Games?” So that’s what I’m calling it, since I’m all about obvious puns.

    As for the technique, the theory is that since the game has a “pity timer” that increases your chances of finding a legendary item the longer you go without finding one, you can exploit this by obtaining a Horadric Cache after not finding any Legendaries for some time. Hence not killing Goblins, not opening golden chests, avoiding random Elites, etc. This is a sacrifice since it’ll lower your total legendaries found, but boost your chances of finding that all-important RoRG.

    Does it work? Some players swear it does, others say it doesn’t. And thus we’re plunged back into the conspiracy theories that are inevitably spawned by item hunting in a game where we don’t know exactly how item drops work. I think the principle is sound, as the pity timer is real, but I’m not at all sure the stated rules are how it should be done.

    First of all, we don’t know when items in a Horadric Cache are determined. The Junger Gamers say the legendary pity timer works when you find the Cache, but that seems contrary to what we know about how Horadric Caches determine their item drops. Remember early in RoS, when players were storing Caches up in Normal and opening them on Torment 6? That was a real exploit, easily observed since it caused Imperial Gems to drop from Caches found in Normal. (Which made it seem that items in Caches were determined when the Cache was opened. NOT when it was found.)

    Blizzard confirmed that exploit by hotfixing it and adding an internal tag to unopened Caches that tracked what DiabloWikidifficulty level they were found on, and the level of the character that farmed them. (So if you find bags with a lvl 70 and open with a lvl 60, all the items will be lvl 70.) Bliz later expanded on that in Patch 2.0.5 when they boosted the chances for legendary items to drop from Caches found on Torment 2 and higher.

    Furthermore, Bliz recently confirmed that items from Caches roll their smart drop according to the class of the character that opens the cache. It doesn’t matter who farms the cache in terms of what items drop. That matches my experience and testing as well, as I once farmed a bunch of caches with my DH and my Barb, and then opened them with a WD and got almost all INT gear, plus several Witch Doctor-restricted items.

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    Diablo 3 PTR v1.07 Testing: Crafting and the Economy

    Posted 31 Jan 2013 by

    Nek the PvP NPC now in Act 3.

    Nek the PvP NPC now in Act 3.

    I’d been meaning to hop back on the PTR to do some more testing after I tested out the new crafting recipes and Reflects Damage changes two weeks ago right after v1.07 went live on the DiabloWikiPTR. Tonight seemed like a great time, after all the patch updates, so away I went.

    I didn’t have time to test out everything, but I did some fairly typical farming runs (plus visits to Acts 1 and 2) with my P43 Monk, and got good insight into the new Demonic Essence drop rates, the improved Plan drop rates, the improvements to the crafting recipes, economic ramifications of the new crafting recipes, the Monk skill changes, and more.

    This is part one and it covers the new Crafting recipes and economic issues. I’ll post part two later today covering the changes to Monster modifiers, plus upgrades to the Monk skills, the huge increase to DiabloWikiPlan drop rates, and more general gameplay changes.

    Crafting Recipe Changes

    As you can see in the patch notes, the new crafting recipes have been much improved in their potential stat values, and much changed in their crafting costs. Gone are the crazy 25 Iridescent Tear costs for almost everything — in are generally lower material costs and much higher potential stats on the items. I was surprised at the +[101-115] inherent values they threw out to start the v1.07 PTR and I’m relieved that they greatly upgraded those values. The initial stats weren’t anywhere near top of the line rares or legendaries (article comparing all the highest +attribute values from current items can be seen here). Now that all the new recipes (Amulets, Bracers, Gloves, Pants, and Chest Armor) have been boosted to +[201-230], that’s a lot more like it.

    Realize that these stats can (apparently, from the godly PTR items floating around) double up, with random mods rolling the same stat. (Several of the examples in screens below have 270 or more to the mainstat, and those aren’t even good rolls.) You could theoretically (if the game code allows random affixes to double stack the same mod as seen now on some legendaries) get the 200-230 inherent + up to 200 or 300 (depending on the item type) to the same stat for a gigantic 500+ to one stat from of those item slots. You’d need to get other good modifiers as well, of course, so these are all clearly meant to be long term crafting projects rather than some sort of guaranteed awesome item. But they’ve got a lot more potential now than they did two weeks ago.

    The odds to find the Demonic Essences are a lot lower than they were previously, and finding the new plans is harder too. You can still buy the four Archon Armors from Squirt for 1.5m each, but you have to find each of the others, and note that each one has four versions, one for each stat. The best way to find those is from 8 Mini-Bosses (Leoric, Spider Queen, Magda, Zoltan Kulle, Ghom, the other Spider Queen, Rakanoth, and Izual) each of which has a good chance to drop them. How good?

    Not as good as it was initially in v1.07 when each of those bosses had a 50% chance to drop one of the recipes at random. Now the odds start much lower and scale up dramatically with Monster Power.

  • MP 0: 20%

  • MP 1: 23.2%
  • MP 2: 26.912%
  • MP 3: 31.218%
  • MP 4: 36.213%
  • MP 5: 42.007%
  • MP 6: 48.728%
  • MP 7: 56.524%
  • MP 8: 65.568%
  • MP 9: 76.059%
  • MP 10: 88.228%
  • This seems like a huge benefit to very high level players, but realize that you only need one of each to teach your Artisan,and that plans drop much more often now than previously. I think most regular players will have all of these plans fairly soon, and the Auction House sales will drop in value quickly.

    Currently the PTR Auction House only showed the Gloves and Amulets (not the belt or bracers, though this might be a bug/oddity), and they had very high prices, though prices on the PTR are weird.

    Click through for specific details on more of the new recipes and what they should mean for the economy on a whole

    Amulet of Vitality

    Amulet of Vitality.

    Amulet of Vitality.

    I couldn’t afford the Amulet Design for Str/Dex/Int, but the Vit was only 5m so I bought one for testing. Note the gem in the recipe:

  • Costs: 100k gold + 1 Fiery Brimstone + 1 Demonic Essence + 1 Perfect Square Amethyst
  • Result: +[201 - 230] Vitality + 5 Random Magic Properties
  • The other amulets are just the same, but the gem changes to reflect the inherent attribute. (Emerald for Dex amulets, Topaz for Int Amulets, Ruby for Str amulets.) Perfect Squares are made from 3 Flawless Squares (for 30,000 gold + 3 Tomes of Secret) and each Fiery Brimstone currently costs about 20k (on the Americas GAH) so factor that into the cost and you’re up over 150k each. (More on other realms or Hardcore.)

    How do they turn out? I only had enough mats to make a few of them, and while I’d never have spend mats on Vitality amulets for real, one of them turned to be one of the best Follower amulets I’d ever seen. It rolled with 233 Vitality, 85 Int, 45% Magic Find and Faster Attack rate? Yes, I snapped that around Eirena’s neck faster than a choke collar on an angry pitbull.

    Archon Armors of Dex/Vit/Int/Str

    The chest armors are the accessible ones; they can be bought from Squirt (rather than found) and they have very low materials costs. Though their 150k crafting cost is higher, that’s actually lower when you factor in what the materials cost for the other recipes.

  • Costs: 150,000 gold + 2 Tomes of Secret + 1 Demonic Essence
  • Results: +[201-230] Vit/Dex/Str/Int + 5 Random Magical Properties
  • I made a few of the Dexterity armors but nothing rolled worth the cheese despite the new and much higher inherent attribute bonus. One would at least have been salable, with big Dex, Vit, MF, and a socket, but of course they are all DiabloWikiBoA.

    Bracers of Strength

    The first plan I found was for Bracers of Strength. The plan drop was a surprise, since it came form a regular monster (not even an elite) in the Fields of Slaughter. Not from one of the Bosses, but just a regular trash mob. Side benefit of the big 400% increase in Plan drop rate (and there are tons of them now: I found 2 or 3 in each run with around 320% MF.)

  • Cost: 50,000 gold + 30 Exquisite Essences + 5 Tomes of Secret + 1 Demonic Essence
  • Results: +[201-230] Str + 5 Random Magical Modifiers.
  • There are identical plans for bracers of Int, Vit, and Dex.

    I only made two of them, and both were meh. I can see this recipe having some potential long term; 150 is a big roll to the mainstat now on bracers, so popping one of these with 300 to mainstat, plus Vit, Res All, and CC would be an upgrade over almost any rare in the game today. How it would compare to the DiabloWikiAS and FM on Lacuni Prowlers is open to debate, but given the 50m+ cost of any Lacuni with CC, and the Lacuni’s much lower rolls on all the other values, this recipe could be worth a shot.

    Bracers of Str #1

    Bracers of Str #1

    Bracers of Str #2

    Bracers of Str #2

    Archon Gauntlets of Intelligence

    v107-2-plan-archon-gauntlets-intThe Spider Queen dropped this recipe for me on MP2, when she had a 26.91% chance to do so, according to the updated patch notes. (I’d already done Ghom, and the Skeleton King on MP2 without getting a plan.)

  • Cost: 50,000 gold + 20 Iridescent Tears + 5 Tomes of Secret + 1 Demonic Essence
  • Results: +[201-230] Int + 5 Random Magical Modifiers.
  • There are identical plans for gloves of Str, Vit, and Dex. I made a few just to test, but I’d recommend against repeating this on the real realms. Gloves are amazingly cheap in the Auction House, and this recipe needs to hit the lottery to improve on what you can buy for less than one million gold.

    Gloves need to roll a big DiabloWikitrifecta plus 150+ DiabloWikimainstat to be desirable now, and while this recipe guarantees a huge mainstat, you can buy spectacular gloves, with 200 mainstat and a trifecta, for a few million. So basically you need to hit 3 of the 5 random mods with great rolls just to equal what you can buy in the GAH for not very much, and you’d need to hit all 5 random affixes to equal gloves that cost less than 5 million.

    I would not waste my time crafting this one (unless you’ve got amazingly great gear in all the other new crafted item slots) — hell, I felt silly burning Demonic Essences on it just on the PTR. Honestly, these need 6 or 7 random affixes, or else another inherent, like 6-10% DiabloWikiCC + the attribute. That would at least give them a decent chance of value.

    Demonic Essence Drop Rates

    v107-2-demonic-essence-drop1These new materials (which are still yellow in color rather than the expected light blue) drop less often than they did previously. I think they’re still quite common though; I wanted more on the PTR for testing, but even on MP0 or MP1 you’ll find several with each (equivalent of) an DiabloWikiAlkaizer Run, and they’ll add up quickly when you’re not trying to craft constantly for testing purposes. Especially since they don’t have any purpose or use other than these new crafting recipes.

    DiabloWikiNephalem Valor does *not* factor into the drop rates. DiabloWikiMonster Power is all that changes it, though since Demonic Essences can only drop from Elites and Bosses (as well as Treasure Goblins and some in-game events) the biggest factor is how fast you can move between boss packs and how quickly you can mow them down once you arrive.

    Each level of Monster Power will increase the drop chance of Demonic Essence from Elites and bosses according to the following values:

  • MP 0: 20.0000% 15.0000%
  • MP 1: 23.0000% 16.5000%
  • MP 2: 26.4500% 18.1500%
  • MP 3: 30.4175% 19.9650%
  • MP 4: 34.9801% 21.9615%
  • MP 5: 40.2271% 24.1577%
  • MP 6: 46.2612% 26.5734%
  • MP 7: 53.2004% 29.2308%
  • MP 8: 61.1805% 32.1538%
  • MP 9: 70.3575% 35.3692%
  • MP 10: 80.9112% 38.9061%
  • Back to town already?

    Back to town already?

    Note that the big change comes at the high end, with the odds much worse at higher levels. As these tables break now, the best farming would probably be on MP0 or MP1, since those can be done so quickly by well-geared characters. Going all the way up to MP10 only doubles your odds from MP2.

    I did several runs covering 5 or 6 levels, in Acts 1, 2, and 3, mostly on MP2, and found 3-5 Demonic Essences each time. The last couple of games I started picking up most of the Magical and Rare items, purely to salvage them for materials I needed to test the crafting, and I accumulated those mats much more quickly than the Demonic Essences I needed for the crafting.

    Working for the Bracers recipe that required 30 Exquisite Essence (blue), I was finding (salvaging) 40 or 50 of those for each Demonic Essence, though this obviously required fairly regular trips back to town. I can easily see players going on blue hunts and only picking up Magical items (plus some selected Rares, such as jewelry), which drop in amazing profusion.

    Of course, on the PTR.

    Of course, on the PTR.

    I’m not saying that the Magical item drop rate has been buffed, just that I haven’t really noticed that color of items in months. Once I had a reason to pay attention to Blue items, they were everywhere. Dropped constantly during battles, in heaps of 2 or 3 or 4 by bosses, etc. The Act 2 keywarden dropped 8 of them at once, and the Act 3 keywarden kicked out 4.

    And yes, of course that’s a Vile Ward he dropped for me. This is probably the biggest drawback of PTR testing… when you actually find something good and know it’s not *real*. (I also found a Shen Long’s Relentless and a Tal Rasha’s Belt in the same short Act 3 run, but happily both of their rolls sucked. Unlike the Vile Ward, which popped with 197 Str and Pickup Radius, making them more valuable than any Vile Ward I’ve ever found on the *real* realms.)

    As for the Magical items, they drop constantly and they’re quick to pick up and salvage, since it only takes one click. Rares are slower since while you can salvage them without identifying them first, (which is easy on the PTR, but scary with lost potential on the real realms) you still have to click OK (or just hit Enter) to salvage each one. Of course Rares give you an Iridescent Tear and an Exquisite Essence, and you need both materials for these recipes.

    The value of those materials should increase once v1.07 goes live and they become more in demand. Note that Demonic Essence are Account Bound and can not be traded, at least for now.

    Economic Ramifications of the New Crafting

    This section is mostly an FYI, since there’s no real point i projecting too much while the PTR values can still change before the patch goes live.

    Realize that when you mirror your account over to the PTR it copies everything. All your gold, all your gear, all your characters, etc. Since everything is just copied and only lasts as long as the testing goes on, gold and items don’t have any real value. Everyone’s spending furiously to do more testing, hardly anyone is bothering to put items on the Auction House, etc. It’s not like the real realms.

    That said, I did some GAH surveying just to see how things were selling and what was being sold. Current costs for Inferno crafting materials on the PTR AH:

  • Exquisite Essences: 1300
  • Iridescent Tears: 482
  • Fiery Brimstone: 9300
  • Same items on the Americas GAH, right now:

  • Exquisite Essences: 918
  • Iridescent Tears:545
  • Fiery Brimstone: 28,100
  • Note that the average Inferno Rare item sells for about 2500, so it’s odd that anyone even bothers to salvage Rares for Iridescent Tears. (You also get 2 Tears + 1 Fiery Brimstone every time you salvage an Inferno Legendary, but there seem to be way more Iridescent Tears in circulation than could come only from Legendary trash?) As I’ve mentioned though, the prices on the PTR are weird since everyone’s basically spending a duped version of their own gold, and most people are just doing what I’ve been doing and making lots of crafts for the sake of testing.

    At any rate, it does seem that all the crafting materials will be increasing in value, now that there are recipes worth using them in. It’ll be interesting to see if gems will boost any in price with their place in the Amulet recipe. Gems shot up right after v1.07 was revealed and the Marquise gems info hit, but those values have been receding over the past week.

    Part two of this report will be up later today, with coverage of the Monk’s skill changes (improvements), changes to the Monster Modifiers (RD is better than 2 weeks ago), plus a bunch of general game change observations.

    What do you guys think of the new crafting recipes? Certainly better than they were 2 weeks ago, and I think they’ve got pretty good potential to outdo affordable rares in the game today. The fact that they’re all BoA is quite a monkey wrench in estimating their value though, since that means every one you make is either great for you, or worthless, with no in between.

    I got that feeling about other items while playing on the PTR, since they were either upgrads for me or trash, since I wasn’t going to bother putting them into the GAH on the PTR. Normally when I’m playing I ID some types of Rares with hope of a sale. Hardly ever for me; maybe .0001% of Rares are actually upgrades for me, but at least 1% are useful Auction House sales. Thus on the PTR I was very quickly crafting every rare I found, without even IDing them, since I just wanted the crafting mats.

    Bobby-eyes-sIt was like a peek into the empty nihilism that D3 would be without an Auction House. Oh god, Bobby knew best after all! :(

    Part Two of this article will be posted later today, covering the Monk’s skill upgrades, the changes to monster affixes, and more.