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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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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.

    Read More & Comment >>

    Diablo 3 Strategy: Normal & Nightmare Farming for Profit?

    Posted 27 Sep 2013 by

    I’ve read a number of comments recently from players who say they make more profit (via AH sales) farming Nightmare than they do farming Inferno. So I tried it tonight, taking my nearly-max MF P55 Monk (profile) for a quick spin through a good section of Nightmare on MP10. (I actually did all of Acts 2-4 since I had no quests in any of those, having been long-ago rushed right from Act 1 to Act 3 Azmodan.)

    Does anyone really pay 10m+ for a lvl 45 amulet?

    Does anyone really pay 10m+ for a lvl 45 amulet?

    It was kind of fun, but was it profitable? I’m not sure. I’m playing in Hardcore where there’s more (much more?) of a market for mid-level gear. I found 4 legendaries, one of which near dopplegangers listed for about 800k in the Auction House. Along with the legs I only picked up Rare Jewelry and pages of crafting, since this was more of an experiment than a serious effort. (You’d want to pick up most rare armor and rare 1H weapons as well, if you were farming this conscientiously.)

    Even with just the jewelry, I got 2 rings that DiabloWikicomp at 200-400k, and one amulet that might be worth a lot more. The comps are quite high, at any rate, though I have doubts that anyone actually pays that much for gear of that level. Perhaps someday if/when we get a proper PvP system and D2-style low level dueling puts a high price on lower level gear. But now, when it’s only useful for 10-15 levels on a reroll?

    The most amusing thing in my game? I cleared Act IV in 9 minutes. Literally; I killed Azmodan at 1:02am and killed Diablo at 1:11am. I was playing solo, I did all the quests, etc. Just ran really, really fast, slowing down only to glance at what Elites dropped. This was with a Monk in full DiabloWikiTempest Rush mode: equipment giving me about 11 spirit/sec, and wearing 24% faster movement, +10% from Fleet Footed, +50% from TR: Tailwind. Fast Monk was fast.

    Click through for a few more details about the pros and cons of fortune hunting in Nightmare. If you’ve tried this, or done some fortune hunting on Normal or Hell, do share the news in comments. I’d love to hear details about what sells and doesn’t, which are the most coveted item finds, (Leoric’s Signets are level 17 and sell for 30-50m in HC) if this is actually profitable in softcore, etc.

    And if you’re curious, do it now since this whole way of life is gone once the AH shuts down.


    Gear Prices for Low/Mid Levels

    I think this is mostly for Hardcore where players have to reroll semi-regularly, but low and mid level gear is quite pricey for softcore as well. Does anyone buy it? I don’t know. I have rerolled 5 or 6 chars since I’ve been rich enough in HC to not mind dropping a few hundred thousand on an item I’m only going to use for about 10-15 levels, and every time I’ve looked, for a variety of characters, there are many items, of every type, listed for 5m+ from level 15-50. I’ve never paid that much for anything, usually spending 100-500k at most for any gear slot, but someone must or people wouldn’t bother listing rare level 27 bracers for 3.5m… would they?

    There are three obvious benefits to paying a lot for low level gear in Hardcore. 1) You’ll level up more quickly and have more fun. 2) You’re much less likely to die. 3) When you outgrow the gear you can stash it for some future reroll, or resell it. And most of the time you’ll get as much as you paid, if not more. Thus your pricey items turn into rentals that you use for 10 or 15 levels and then resell, paying only the 15% AH fee for the usage.


    Potential Riches?

    First off, let’s agree that no one is going to join the B-club farming Nightmare. At least not from one item. By playing these lower levels you’re giving up the hope of finding anything of truly epic value, which *might* drop for you at any moment in Inferno. Even a one million value item is probably a lot to hope for playing on Nightmare, though there are plenty of legendaries and rares listed for multimillions in every item slot.

    The theory, I think, is that you hope to find a lot of 200-500k sales, and get them to add up.

    This will not happen in Nightmare.

    This will not happen in Nightmare.

    The top end gear you can find in Inferno might sell for far more, but as we all know, like .00001% of what you find in Inferno sells for anything, much less jackpot prices. And the quality is forever increasing since so many players are geared up for max MF in Inferno.

    This is not true for Norm/NM/Hell item finding. No one playing a new character has even a fraction of max MF (this might change come DiabloWikiParagon 2.0, but we won’t have an Auction House then.) so they’re very unlikely to find legendaries, 6-affix rares, etc.

    High quality gear for level 25-50 chars doesn’t sell for as much as end game gear, but you don’t need to get such a quintuple-miracle of RNG for an item to have value. Can this sort of play actually prove profitable, though? There are some obvious drawbacks:

  • Gold stacks are tiny, compared to Inferno. Even with max Gold Find and MP10.
  • Normal and NM gems are almost without value, selling for much less than gold stacks.
  • Crafting mats are worth a lot less. Pages of Jewelcrafting sell for 1100ish, and Tomes of Jewelcrafting and Blacksmithing sell for around 800 each, while Tomes of Secret are 8-10k in Hardcore. (This is *not* true in Softcore, where NM and Hell crafting mats actually sell for more than Tomes of Secret. Though I think this is purely due to a scarcer supply and the value will drop dramatically if more people start farming the low levels.)

  • Strategy

    I hesitate to call it “strategy” since a character well-geared for Inferno can instantly obliterate anything in Nightmare, even on MP10. The strategy then is mostly about maximizing your Magic Find and movement speed. And you want to kill things with skills that don’t require you to stop, or even slow down. A Tempest Rush Monk is pretty much ideal, since you can kill everything with a single pass and your movement speed is rocket-like.

    While it’s fun for a change to just rush through levels like a madman, you will miss the monster density you’re used to from Inferno. Act Three isn’t so bad, but Acts 1 and 2 are dreadful for sub-Inferno farming and you’ll get that “Why aren’t there any monsters on these levels?” feeling all the time.

    Why swirlies are not blue?

    Why swirlies are not blue?

    Bear in mind that skills that require you to hit or crit enemies aren’t going to work so well since everything dies so quickly. TR (db) is great since it can be entirely fueled by spirit generation gear. A Sprint Barb would have more trouble, and would require very high Crit Chance for the cyclones to proc enough to maintain Fury.

    Also remember that it’s very easy and there’s no danger, so you can switch to odd skills you’d never use in Inferno purely to get more movement speed or resource regen. This is part of the fun, just for the variety in the play style.

    I respeced to Circular Breathing right at the start, along with Chant of Resonance and Exalted Soul… but it took me half the game to remember that one rune in Sweeping Wind generates 3 spirit/sec when at 3 stacks. And you’ll probably want to put some joy into Kormac’s life by sitting Lyndon or Eirena in order to get his GLORIOUS resource regen passive.


    Item Values Strategy

    Pair a shoes?

    Pair a shoes?

    The real strategy is knowing the value of what you find, and that can only come with experience. Most players by now have developed an instant value calculator in their brain for Inferno rares, but the same is not true for level 20 or 30 or 40 items.

    It’s not true for me, anyway.

    To get good at this you’d have to constantly reference the AH on your finds and develop a sliding scale of quality referenced by item level. How much strength and vit makes a pair of gloves valuable at level 25 is very different than at lvl 40.

    You’ve got to learn all the different item types, too. A few times on the podcast I’ve amused myself by pop quizzing the guests with some of the weird mid-level item type names from Diablo 3. No one ever knows any of them. Including me, if I didn’t have the list in front of me. Here are a few item types you’ll find in Nightmare: Ono, kindjal, gada, spontoon, dao, spatha, kastet. Which are worth picking up? Um… yeah…

    It’s funny to look at the names, but if you want to make gold doing this you’ve got to know instantly which items are worth picking up and which you’re going to leave lying on the dungeon floor.


    Conclusion

    I’m sure there are some players who have been running this style for months and know all about it. I do not, and don’t plan to do much of it. But it was fun for a change of pace, and the potential of it actually paying off in some gold gain is a nice incentive.

    Expert commentary or corrections are welcome in comments.

    Update: As a follow up, I haven’t listed most of the potential valuables I found yet, but this weapon sold just hours after I listed it. I also found a Buriza and the cheapest ones in the HC AH are set at 500k, so I figure that’s a guaranteed sale at 400k. So that’s 1.2m from a couple of hours of experimental play with at least 3-5m more in likely sales sitting in my stash.

    I seldom find that much in sale value from a session of Inferno farming, even with a max MF character.

    monster-hunter


    Tagged As: | Categories: End Game, Strategy News, Variants