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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.

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    Forum Strategy Watch: Choosing the Optimal MP Level for Farming

    Posted 27 Oct 2012 by

    Detailed and informative guide by Dethklok that gets into math to help determine what DiabloWikiMonster Power level you *should* be playing on for the most efficient/profitable playing experience. Now that the MP system is in, I’ve seen a lot of players talking about playing on the highest level possible, for the experience and Magic Find bonuses. And that’s one approach, and if that’s what you enjoy go for it, but it’s not actually the most efficient way to play, in terms of how many high level rare/legendary items you find per minute. Which is where Dethklok’s math comes in.

    You need to look over the whole thread to get all the context and nuance, but here’s a key quote:

    Farming consists of two essential types of events. One of these is DPSing, the act of actually attacking monsters to make them drop loot. The other, far broader category, we’ll label downtime, a blanket term to cover anything that isn’t DPSing. Running from a dead monster pack to a living one, kiting (maneuvering around living monsters for survivability purposes), deaths, recharging (waiting for cooldowns to reset or resources to regenerate), selling items to merchants, stash dumps, and even putting found items up for auction are all considered downtime. However, only serious time counts; inefficiency caused by not really playing the game with your full attention does not count towards this definition of downtime.

    Unfortunately, the line between downtime and DPSing isn’t quite that clear-cut. Killing white mobs doesn’t have the same magic find potential as killing elites, and the time spent DPSing before achieving 5-stack valor is not as farming-effective as time spent on 5-stack. For the moment, we will assume that such activities count as partial downtime; finding the exact coefficient would be a subject for later inquiry.

    Monster Power bonuses on Inferno.

    His math then proceeds to figure how much of your total time is spent DPSing, vs. other stuff. And that’s where it might confound your expectations, since the slight bonus to Magic Find and experience that you get on Monster Power 2 or 3 is almost certainly *not* worth the added time it takes to kill those enemies. Even for very powerful characters.

    A quick glance at the MP chart shows the monster health outpaces increased magic find, even at MP1. Therefore, only downtime can make a higher MP level more attractive. However, as DPS increases, DPSing time naturally goes down, increasing the relative amount of downtime in a given farming run.

    The big exception is key farming, since on that higher levels of MP makes a huge difference in how often you’ll get a key or a demonic organ.

    If you have a very powerful character capable of easily handling the higher MP levels, this is an area where you actually enjoy a competitive advantage over other farmers… as opposed to, say, trying to out-farm Legendaries against a DiabloWikiTactical Advantage spamming demon hunter with low defenses who runs MP1 Act1 over and over again. Very many characters can farm items efficiently; very few can farm keys well. As such, high-powered characters who aren’t keyfarming are pretty much doing it wrong.

    The final prescription for most characters:

  • Item Farming: MP1 on Act One/Two (to raise the mlvls to 63 and improve item levels dropped), and MP0 on Act Three/Four.
  • Key Farming: The highest MP you can survive without huge delays from death and failure, and it’s very much worth doing this in parties so you can survive on higher MP levels.
  • The possible exception is if you’re one of those people who obsesses over “almost” item finds, in which case you might want to push up your MP to the highest you can manage all the time, just so you won’t feel like you just missed out on an awesome item.

    That used to be fun to worry about in Diablo II, since the item quality went unique > set > rare > magical. So if you found a set or rare item of the same type as a unique that you really wanted, you could curse the RNG gods and gnash your teeth and wish you had just a little bit more Magic Find, since that might have made the difference and you’d have rolled the unique instead.

    That same logic works in D3, but not as obviously, since you find such a huge number of rares (and tiny sliver of legendaries) of all the highest item types on Inferno that they sort of blur together. My DH is desperate for a bow upgrade, but I find rare Revenent Bows so often that I no longer get my hopes up, and I certainly never think, “Wow, that was almost a Windforce (db)!” (See, we do notice item types in Diablo III… sort of.)