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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 Total Guide to Greater Rifts

Greater Rifts (GRs, initially known as Tiered Rifts) are a higher level of Nephalem Rift, meant to provide a greater challenge and greater rewards for players geared well enough to take them on. Greater Rifts are timed, and *must* be completed within 15 minutes to earn rewards. All treasure in Greater Rifts, with usually a legendary item or two, comes from the DiabloWikiGreater Rift Guardian (GRG) which is an upgraded version of the regular DiabloWikiRift Guardians.

Greater Rift CompletionDifficulty: Greater Rifts are numbered as a measure of their difficulty. A level 1 Greater Rift is very easy, equivalent to Normal difficulty (or less.) Greater Rifts scale up quickly though, and will become challenging for any player ability. Level 8 is equivalent to about Torment 1, Level 15 is equivalent to about [Torment 3, and Level 25 is approximately the same as Torment 6. There should be an infinite number or Greater Rift levels since each one merely increases the hit points and damage of the monsters by some percentage.

Shrines: There are virtually no DiabloWikishrines or DiabloWikipylons in Greater Rifts. Pylons are seen occasionally, but their bonuses last only 15 seconds (instead of the usual 30) and Blizzard specifically said that DiabloWikiConduit Pylons would not be found in Greater Rifts since they are so powerful they would skew the entire rift DiabloWikiLeaderboard system.

Dying in Greater Rifts

Revive at Corpse. No.

No Respecs: Characters can reallocate their Paragon Points while in a Rift, but can not access their inventory or skill menus (DiabloWikirespec) while in a Greater Rift. It is possible to return to town mid-GR, and players can respec and make repairs then, though it’s not recommended since the GR is a timed race. This is a feature designed to limit exploits via equipment or skill changes, so players can’t change gear or skills to be more effective against a single target before they reach the Greater Rift Guardian for instance.

Rewards: Items and gold do not drop in Greater Rifts, and there are no chests or other clickables. All treasure comes from defeating the Greater Rift Guardian, who drops a huge amount of stuff, about double that of a normal Rift Guardian, and has a very high probability of dropping at least one legendary item. (Note that the lack of gold and chests hurts the effectiveness of legendary items such as DiabloWikiGoldwrap and DiabloWikiHarrington Waistguard that proc up in effectiveness via gold pickups or chest/clickables opening.)

Progress Bar: The progress bar in a Greater Rift increases gradually from killing trash mobs, but jumps up by larger amounts for Elite kills. (Elites drop objects that look a bit like gooey health orbs, which count for big boosts in the progress bar when collected.) This is a feature designed to keep players from simply rushing past Elites to more quickly finish the rift by killing trash mobs, as can be done in normal Nephalem Rifts, and players will fill their progress bar more quickly by killing Elites than by skipping them, except in very rare long Elite battles.

Accessing and Process

  1. # Get a Greater Rift Keystone level 1 from completing a Nephalem Rift. – Drop rate still being determined.
  2. Use the GR Keystone to open a portal to a Greater Rift at the regular Nephalem Obelisk next to DiabloWikiOrek.
  3. Kill all the mobs in the Greater Rift before the timer runs out.
  4. No regular or champion mobs drop loot in Greater Rifts.
  5. The Rift Guardian will drop loot regardless if the timer has run out or not.
  6. If the Rift Guardian is killed before the timer runs out he will drop a Greater Rift Keystone.
  7. The Keystone’s level is determined by how quickly the Greater Rift was cleared. The quicker, the higher the GR key fragment.

Progress Bar and Rift Speed

The progress bar in a Greater Rift looks the same as the bar in a normal Nephalem Rift, with two added slider needles, displayed above and below the bar. The total bar coloured in orange, and the icon above it show your current progress towards completing the rift. The icon below it and any colour in blue shows how fast you need to progress to complete the rift in time.

greater rift progress bar

Ahead of the progress time

When players are battling through a Rift that’s just at the limit of their killing power, they will often see their progress dropping behind and the bar showing blue, before they kill a couple of Elites in a row and see the bonus from Elites shoot them back up ahead of schedule.

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Diablo III: Skill Calculator Update + Class Skills

Posted 25 Feb 2012 by

 

Blizzard has just posted a new blog updated that includes the new skill calculator as well as a write-up on the class skills that includes new videos. There’s a lot of shiny new things to watch. Those of you in the beta will probably already know a bit of this information, but the videos are still pretty cool to watch.

The footage includes new locals and enemies that you probably haven’t seen a lot of before (mainly Act 2, from what I’ve seen), so if you’re wanting to avoid spoilers, consider this fair warning.

Starting today, we’re going show off some new, some improved, and some previously unseen class skills that you’ll use to slaughter your way through Diablo III’s acts.

The skills we’re spotlighting are drawn from a variety of classes and levels, and most of them aren’t available in the Diablo III beta. We’ve decided to showcase only “base” skills, unaffected by runes, but their rune variants are no less explosive (there are just a few too many of them to display here).
You can find each skill video we’ve posted on the appropriate skill page in the Game Guide, or simply click the links below to watch them in action. Keep your eyes on the environments that these demon-slaying displays take place in, too — you’ll notice a few unfamiliar, exotic locales.

In the future, we’ll release more videos on this blog exhibiting different skills you’ll unlock throughout Diablo III. Remain vigilant.

Barbarian

  • Ancient Spear
  • Earthquake
  • Overpower
  • Furious Charge

Demon Hunter

  • Rain of Vengeance
  • Cluster Arrow
  • Multishot
  • Spike Trap

Monk

  • Serenity
  • Mantra of Conviction
  • Mystic Ally

Witch Doctor

  • Acid Cloud
  • Big Bad Voodoo

Wizard

  • Disintegrate
  • Energy Armor
  • Familiar
  • Hydra
  • Mirror Image
  • Meteor
  • Ray of Frost

Update by Flux: All the videos show just the basic skills without any rune effects, and we’ve already seen most of them via datamined videos during the beta. What’s newer are the areas of the game many of them are set in, some of which are brand new. Click through for some comments on and links to the skill videos that show things you have not seen before.

Here are all the skill videos placed into one single video for ease of viewing.

 

Some new, tank-type monster can be seen in the Barbarian’s Ancient Spear video.

Furious Charge shows one of the winding Goatman-infested levels (much more of those from beta datamining here) we’ll enter later in Act One.

The basic version of Spike Trap looks pretty bland, but the setting, some new tileset of dry desert surface in Act Two, is nifty.

Check out the snowy surface area (from Act 3) in the Rain of Vengeance video.

Cluster Arrow shows off the Torchlight-esque Spider Caves from late Act One.

All of the Monk videos look odd since the character is using basic attacks rather than combos (since they would distract from the skills being presented), but this demo of Mystic Ally shows off the snow-swept upper reaches of Bastion’s Keep in Act 3.

A couple of videos, including this one of the Witch Doctor’s Acid Cloud show off some of the “it’s always night there” Act Two desert oases. (BTW, cheesiest skill animation in the game? Vomiting Witch Doctor face in the sky?)

This video of Big Bad Voodoo shows two interesting things: the WD using basic attack at a high level (something players will not be able to do with the mandatory skills system), and also a new type of heavily-armored assault demons.

It took me a second view to even notice the shoulder-turret style Familiar skill in effect in this Wizard video, with all my attention on the awesome desert tile set. Love the huge heaps of bones down the cliffs to the side.

Hydra shows more action from the snowy heights of Bastion’s Keep in Act 3, as well as demonstrating that only one Hydra can be active at the same time.

Mirror Image is a flashy decoy, but what’s up with that giant, glowing, reanimated demon corpse thing in the pit in the ground off to the right?

Meteor looks a lot less explosive on impact than I expected, but the night Act 2 oasis, and the packs of Fallen, are pretty cool.

We can now play with Ray of Frost in the beta, but this video shows it being used on Cultists in an awesome Act One tileset that I’d not seen before.