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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 Survival: Healing vs. Toughness vs. Hit Points

Posted 19 Apr 2014 by

Players are greatly overvaluing Vit/HPs and undervaluing healing and resistance and defense. That’s the argument made (confusingly, IMHO) in a post on the forums. But since Wyatt Cheng dropped in to commend it, clearly it’s advice we should all take to heart. Especially for Hardcore players: Diablo 3 Survival: Healing vs. Toughness vs. Hit Points?

I’ll quote the whole OP’s post and then Wyatt’s reply, though I’ll explain first since the OP’s example confused me and everyone I asked about it. After reading a bunch of replies to this post, I understand where he’s coming from, but I think it requires more explanation. Here’s how combat and damage works in Diablo 3:

  • Raw incoming damage is DiabloWikimitigated by your DiabloWikiresistances, armor, blocking, -melee/ranged% affixes, etc, which results in the red number you see displayed in game.
  • That number is subtracted from your Hit Points which are largely derived from your Vit and Life% gear.
  • Your healing (DiabloWikiregen, DiabloWikiLpH, Health Orbs, etc) produces the green numbers you see in-game, which refill your HPs pool.
  • The point the OP is making here is that all other things being equal, you derive more value from damage mitigation (via resistance, armor, blocking, etc) than you do from Vitality. But since all of those stats are factored into the single number of your Toughness, it’s hard to tell which numbers are providing the most benefit. Thus his confusing example which says that all other things being equal, it’s better to have more damage mitigation than hit points.

    Thus the example (with fake numbers). A character with 5m toughness and 200k hps is *better* off than a char with 5m toughness and 500k hps, because the 200k hps character would have to have MUCH higher damage mitigation to achieve the same 5m toughness, because vitality is a large part of toughness. (It’s not that you want lower hps — that same 200k hps char would be better off with 500k hps, but if he added 300k hps without changing his other gear, his Toughness number would increase greatly, since Vitality is a major factor in toughness. And then you’d have 2 chars with 500k hps, and one of them would have 8m toughness.)

    Anyway, here’s the post and Wyatt’s reply:

    So I have been playing for a very long time on softcore and recently have been doing a bunch on hardcore, where survivability becomes paramount (of course). I ran across someone in my clan the other day, and have actually ran across many people of a similar mindset so I decided to write it all down here so it could actually help someone.

    Anyway, he could not understand why I am able to do 1 level of difficulty higher than him when my toughness number was about 40% of what his was. So we joined a game together and started killing some things and he began to wonder why my life pool was barely moving as I took damage, while his would drain a little bit, but not significantly to put him in danger.

    The thing to remember is that your character survivability is a function of all 3 things, Damage, Toughness, and Healing.

    Also, we are assuming no other damage reduction for simplicity. we are only considering healing, life, armor, and all resist.

    Lesson 1: Kill Quickly
    The faster you kill, the less damage you take, and thus the less you have to heal. This is pretty self explanatory, and not specifically the aim of this thread.

    Lesson 2: Life is strengthened by All Resist and Armor
    What is better?

    1. 5,000,000 Toughness with a 500,000 life pool
    2. 5,000,000 Toughness with a 200,000 life pool
    3. Doesn’t matter, 5,000,000 toughness is 5,000,000 toughness

    The answer, every time, is option 2. If you keep your toughness constant while simultaneously lowering your life, it means each life point becomes stronger which makes your healing more potent.

    Let’s do some math and assume we heal for 20,000 life per second and we are fighting monsters while taking 500,000 damage per second… How long will your character last?

    1. 5,000,000 Toughness with 500,000 life pool
    The enemy does 500,000 damage per second which is 1/10 of your toughness, so that means each second, those monsters are hitting you for 50,000 life. we are healing at 20,000 life per second, so we are at a net loss of 30,000 life per second.
    In this case, we will survive for 16.67 seconds.

    Not too bad huh?

    2. 5,000,000 Toughness with 200,000 life pool
    Again, same as above… the enemies damage us for 500,000 damage which is 1/10 of our toughness… That means these monsters are hitting us for 20,000 life per second. But we are also healing for 20,000 life per second. That means we are at a net change of 0 life per second.

    In this case, we will NEVER die!

    3. 8,000,000 Toughness with 800,000 life pool (which is about what my clan-mate had)
    Again, 500,000 damage which is 1/16 of our toughness, so the monsters are hitting for 50,000 damage. we end up in the same scenario as number 1 where we eventually die, but it takes a lot longer. Losing 30,000 health per second with 800,000 health.
    In this case, we will survive for 26.67 seconds.

    Lesson 3: Healing is more potent when stacking armor and All Resist
    we saw above how someone with 3 million more toughness will eventually die when stacked next to someone whose toughness is more seated in all resist and armor. The reason is each point of life has a toughness value associated with it when taking into account all of the other multipliers.

    1. 5,000,000 Toughness with 500,000 life pool
    Each life point here accounts for 10 toughness, so when we have 20,000 healing per second, we are really only regenerating 200,000 toughness per second.

    2. 5,000,000 Toughness with 200,000 life pool
    Each life point here accounts for 25 toughness, so when we have 20,000 healing per seconds, are are actually regenerating 500,000 toughness per second

    3. 8,000,000 Toughness with 800,000 life pool (which is about what my clan-mate had)
    Each life point accounts for 10 toughness so again, we are only regenerating 200,000 toughness per second.

    Suvivability is a combination of killing speed and toughness and healing. for the defensive aspect, the more you stack Armor, All resist and damage reduction modifiers, the more potent your healing becomes so you can survive much longer even with a smaller toughness number. This leads to people witnessing a sense of “false toughness” when stacking life. In actuality, it isn’t “false toughness,” but just diluted healing

    Wyatt Cheng: Thanks for spreading awareness! Great write-up.

    Damage, Toughness and Healing are all designed to be rough guides to try and help players make gear choices, but knowledge of the underlying mechanics will always allow players to get the most out of your gear. Savvy players understand that mechanics like “+% damage to skill X” or “Cooldown Reduction %” can provide significant increases to your combat effectiveness. Equipping your character is about much more than just making an abstract number on your character sheet as large as possible.

    Healing is currently an estimation of approximately how much Life the game thinks you probably heal per second. Obviously it’s just an estimation because mechanics such as Life Per Kill and Life Per Resource Spent don’t translate directly into a Life per second value.

    We’ve been talking about changing Healing into a “Toughness healed per second” value. This unfortunately makes it even more of an abstract concept, but it would help take into account that your damage mitigation enhances the value of your Life recovery stats. The ultimate goal of the three summary stats is to provide a “quick gut check” of an item’s effect on your character, and making this change to Healing could probably help guide people better.

    Here’s my Shorter version of the whole moral of the thread and Wyat’s reply:

  • TLDR: Healing and damage mitigation (via Defense and Resistance) are more valuable than HPs, and players are getting a false sense of security from big Toughness numbers based almost entirely on high VIT, when survival is more about mitigation and healing.

  • Wyatt’s post suggests that the devs want to make the importance of Healing much more apparent to players, and that’s basically what the OP was trying to emphasize. You are much better off adding to your healing (via LpH, Regen, Life for resource spent, etc), or increasing your damage mitigation (via All Res, Defense, +blocking%, reduced damage from melee/ranged attacks, etc), instead of just tacking on some more Vit for a higher HPs number. Currently, the game doesn’t make that very clear with the way Toughness increases via gear upgrades, and the way that Healing is listed separately and not factored into your total Toughness/HPs.

    What do you guys think of Wyatt’s suggestion for a better display of the Healing mechanic? And/or do you think they need to recalculate Toughness, since it seems to overvalue Vit and types of damage mitigation your character isn’t necessarily benefiting from, while not accurately showing the more important factors in survival?

    Tagged As: | Categories: Blue Posts, Strategy News, Wyatt Cheng