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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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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.
 DiabloWikiEnforcer
 enforcer
  • 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.
 DiabloWikiMoratorium
 Moratorium
  • 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 to Reaper of Souls Item Upgrade Guide

Posted 27 Nov 2013 by

During the week of the Reaper of Souls beta test I’ve talked to a lot of people who weren’t lucky enough to get a beta slot yet, and virtually everyone has asked me about which current Diablo 3 items are still useful. So, how about a Diablo 3 to Reaper of Souls Item Upgrade Guide? This isn’t meant to be some huge investment guide; more of a quick reference discussion. And of course this is all preliminary based on the current state of the game. Reaper of Souls is nowhere near release yet and it’s likely that many things will be rebalanced and adjusted before release, especially in terms of items and affixes. We’ll update this list as the beta progresses

This is why I sold all my D3V gems.

This is why I sold all my D3V gems.

That said, here’s what we know after one week of testing.

Thumbnail summary:

  • Dump them now: All D3V commodities and gems. All weapons.
  • Easily upgraded in RoS: Boots, belts, shoulders, bracers, chest armor, most helms, shields, orbs, mojos, quivers.
  • Top quality D3V still viable in RoS: Rings, amulets, gloves, Mempo of Twilight.
  • That’s the very quick version, glossing over some distinctions and exceptions. Read on for the details.


    D3 Commodities are Worthless in Reaper of Souls

    The most obvious change is the completely worthless nature of every Diablo 3 commodity in Reaper of Souls. All gems, plus Tomes of Secret, Demonic Essences, and everything else you get from salvaging is virtually worthless in RoS. If you want to bet that the game stays much the same at release as it is now, you should sell all of your gems and materials at once, while they still hold value. (Gold is useful in RoS, though much less all powerful than in D3.)

    Gems are comically worthless; Marquise Gems, the highest level in Diablo 3 now are the new baseline drop in the end game of Reaper of Souls, with six more levels of gems added above Marquise: three qualities of Imperial and 3 of Royal. You regularly find Marquise and the lowest level of Imperial even on Normal difficulty, and while gems are likely to change in balancing (the costs to upgrade and unsocket now aren’t so much unbalanced as incomplete) it’s obvious that gem stats need to greatly increase given how much stat bonuses have. I liquidated my D3V gems the first day of the Reaper of Souls beta.

    Commodity soup :subject to change.

    Commodity soup :subject to change.

    Crafting materials are useful in Reaper of Souls and there are hundreds of new blacksmith recipes, including dozens of new legendary item sets, and they drop regularly too; I’ve found 5 or 6 already (2 of them end game level, the others lower) after never finding a single one in my entire D3V play time. The problem for D3V mats is that those are not the top level materials in RoS. All the current D3V materials (including Brimstones and Tomes of Secret) are found from drops and/or salvage out of low and mid level items in Reaper of Souls, while the materials you need for end game crafting, Artisan training, etc, come chiefly from salvaging newly-found level 70 gear.

    The only disclaimer for this issue is the fact that crafting mats are very likely to receive a major balance patch. I certainly hope so, since they are currently confused, redundant, and very unbalanced in their availability vs. requirements for crafting. Basically you don’t find anywhere near enough of them to do more than like one craft a day on the higher end stuff, with the bottleneck coming mostly from new white materials, which can only be obtained from Horadric Goodie Bags and from salvaging white items, which hardly ever drop.

    Blizzard has suggested that they’ll add 10-to-1 upgrade recipes to turn current materials into the new Reaper of Souls end game materials, which will help those of you with thousands of Tomes of Secret, but that’s about their only possible value come RoS conversion.


    Much more on the click through, covering the gear that you’ll immediately upgrade, and that which you won’t…

    Easy Gear Upgrades

    Wins by sheer weight of stats.

    Wins by sheer weight of stats.

    I could easily have included weapons in the first category, since they are laughably useless in RoS. You’ve seen the screenshots; good 1H weapons in RoS deal 3400 DPS while two-handers do 4200+. (Which is wildly too low for 2H; they’re even more useless in RoS than in D3V.) That’s a lot more than double the best DPS you can find in D3V, and with the other item stats much the same, almost every player can count on finding a considerable weapon upgrade by level 65.

    There are very few changes in how D3V affixes work on items in Reaper of Souls. Currently, the DiabloWikitrifecta stats are virtually unchanged. The big differences are some added affixes, especially Crushing Blow, and the huge increases in possible stat values and Defense numbers. Those big stat rolls are behind most of the easy RoS item upgrades, since shoulders, boots, chest armors, pants, and bracers all look much the same in RoS as in D3… except they have 500 more to the mainstat and/or vitality.

    The exceptions are some legendary items that get special bonuses in Diablo 3, chiefly Lacunis bracers and Inna’s Pants with IAS and Movement Speed, and Witching Hour belts with IAS and Critical Damage. I hung on to the Inna’s Pants on my Monk and Demon Hunter all the way to 70, but as I went up in difficulty I finally had to stop ignoring the big differences in damage and gigantic differences in defense, stats, and resistance, simply to retain some faster run and IAS.

    Decisions, decisions...

    Decisions, decisions…

    Witching Hour is a tougher trade off, since the IAS and critical hit damage are golden. Also bear in mind that you can Enchant and considerably upgrade one mod on all of your carried over legendaries, though each roll requires a Forgotten Soul (the new orange material) and those only come from salvaging newly-found end game legendaries. I’m always out of them, but when you can turn some unwanted +84 to INT into another trifecta stat, or +500 to mainstat or vit, or 90 res all, that’s a huge upgrade to your D3V legendary item.


    All off-hand weapons go the same route as most of the armor. RoS versions get much the same stats but can have 500 more to mainstat and vitality, and that makes for pretty easy upgrades, even if you’re giving up some of your critical hit damage or losing a bit of IAS, etc.

    Another factor; the partial Item Set bonuses on your D3V sets are negligible in Reaper of Souls. Most of those bonuses are around +130 to a stat, or +55 res all, which is good in D3V but hardly worth noticing in RoS when your character has 5500 mainstat and 1000 res all wearing decent quality Rares at level 70. (You do not get partial set bonuses mixing and matching D3V with RoS-dropped set items, and while some of the partial set bonuses in RoS have been tweaked, they’re still much the same and thus generally useless.)


    Holding Value

    There are some slots where the top D3V items are as good or better than new RoS gear. (This refers to the quality of gear you’ll likely find in your first weeks of RoS. Long term, players will accumulate Legendaries and Rares that will definitely out-point carried over D3V items.)

    D3V gloves with Enchant-added CB.

    D3V gloves with Enchant-added CB.

    The most obvious are rings, amulets, and gloves, since the D3V versions have the same values on trifecta stats, and they can have more primary stats than RoS items. Most Rares in RoS have just 2 or 3 primary stats. Rolling one with 4 is very rare, and I’ve seen just a handful of Rares with 5 primary stats, and usually that was a lie/bug as one of the stats listed as Primary wouldn’t allow other primary stats to swap for it via Enchanting.

    That’s probably confusing if you’re not playing, but the whole point in RoS is getting as many primary stats as possible on an item, since only primary stats can switch to other primary stats via Enchanting. So if you have a RoS rare ring with critical hit damage, crit chance, +dex, lightning resistance, and +exp per kill, the first 3 are primary stats and the last 2 are secondary stats. And if you want to reroll one of those affixes to IAS, or Crushing blow, or %chance to Splash Damage, all res, you MUST roll one of the primary stats. The secondary stats can never roll into one of those (much better) primary stats. (And you couldn’t roll res all on an item that also had an individual resistance anyway.)

    This matters for item quality since while you get much bigger rolls on attributes in RoS, you can’t get 5 or 6 primary stats on the same item as you can in D3V. And thus really good D3V rings, amulets, and gloves can outperform RoS ones, even giving up hundreds of attributes… primarily since a RoS item with a trifecta doesn’t have any more primary stats to roll additional great mods, while a D3V one does. And especially since you can upgrade the attribute rolls on carried over D3V gear to the much bigger RoS values.

    I’ve yet to upgrade any of my D3V crafted amulets in Reaper of Souls, and I’ve made, at best, parallel moves on rings and gloves, only switching over by giving up some damage in order to greatly increase Toughness via more hit points, %life, resistances, defense, life regen, Life on Hit, etc.

    The last special case is the helm. Rare Helms in RoS are potentially better than most rares and legendaries in D3V, but only if you get a huge roll to mainstat and vit. You can upgrade any existing D3V helm to turn one attribute from 150ish into 450ish, but you can not do that to vit AND mainstat, and there are no more “split stat” affixes; vit and mainstat now always come from two different affixes.

    I maded dis.

    I maded dis.

    The big exception to this rule of replacement is the DiabloWikiMempo of Twilight helm. I’ve played a fair amount of Monk, Demon Hunter, and Crusader, taking the first two from 60 up to 70 and beyond, and neither of them has ever seen a helm I even considered switching out for the Mempo. As for the Crusader, I stuck my Barb’s old Str Mempo on him as soon as he hit 60. And my Mempos aren’t even that great since I’ve never had the budget to blow a billion+ on one with Crit chance. (Nor did I have the luck to roll it in RoS, though I might try some more when I have the legendary mats to do so.)

    There are legendary helms in Reaper of Souls that blow away the Mempo; even an Enchant-upgraded Mempo with 450 mainstat or vitality. But they’re very rare and I’ve not found any yet. (I did find one Inna’s helm but weirdly it didn’t have Critical hit Chance.)


    Conclusion

    I’ll say it again since it probably can’t be said enough. This is a very preliminary report based on the first week of testing. It took me several days and hundreds of enchants to get a good sense for how the system worked, which mods were scarce and/or valuable, how primary and secondary interacted, which affixes were the most useful for various play styles, what the overall scarcity and value of affixes was, etc. And it’s all based on the current game, which will almost certainly change quite a bit over the remaining months of the beta test.

    I’m not urging or ordering anyone to liquidate their D3V gear, especially since you’re still playing and you need that stuff. However, if you’re not planning to play that much between now and the hypothetical 2014 date when Reaper of Souls goes live, or you have extra gear or retired characters, you might want to strip them like a good car in a bad part of town and get gold (which currently has utility in RoS, chiefly for the very pricey item enchanting) for their equipment that you’ll be able to quickly and easily upgrade come Reaper of Souls. Weapons and gems and materials most obviously, but other stuff is also expendable if you’re looking long term.

    I’m not just going hypothetical here; in the past week I’ve liquidated most of the gear from my D3V characters, raising several hundred million in gold for gear and gems I figured I would outgrow within the first few days of Reaper of Souls. Will I regret it if there are massive changes to the game’s economy between now and launch? Possibly, but I’m not real worried. Clearly the philosophy behind RoS is that self finding is the route to happiness, so you could start the game from scratch and given the rate of found upgrades past level 60, by level 70 you’d be not far behind the gear quality of a character tho entered RoS at level 60, with a full wardrobe of very good quality D3V items.