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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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    Introducing the Paragon System

    Posted 20 Aug 2012 by

    I assume that “excellence” was one such translation from the Brazilian leak. It only makes sense, now, that “Paragon” was the proper word. Many have been wondering and guessing how this system would work. Wonder no more, as we finally have details regarding the new and improved magic and gold find mechanic.


    While working on patch 1.0.4, we came up with all sorts of ideas for ways to improve DiabloWikiDiablo III. Some of them you’ve probably already seen, such as the general systems changes, the awesome buffs for Legendaries, and the improvements we’re making to the DiabloWikibarbarian, DiabloWikidemon hunter, DiabloWikimonk, DiabloWikiwitch doctor, and DiabloWikiwizard. The entire team really banded together to get as much into this patch as possible, and one of the exciting changes I’d like to tell you about today is called the Paragon system.

    Two of the issues we’ve been thinking about while working on patch 1.0.4 have been what to do with DiabloWikiMagic Find and how to give level-60 players who aren’t satisfied with the item hunt something more to strive for. I’m sure many of you are aware of the blog we posted proposing some different Magic Find gear-swapping solutions, as well as our general thoughts on how rewarding the game is once you hit level 60. The Paragon system is designed to help us address these concerns — but before we get into exactly how it works, let’s go over these two core issues in a little more detail.

    Magic Find

    As you may remember, we posed a number of possible solutions to the gear-swapping issue and asked you to give us your feedback [ed- vote results]. While we saw some support for a couple of the options, what your responses ultimately told us was that although having to swap into Magic Find gear mid-fight annoyed some of you greatly, others were ambivalent, didn’t gear swap themselves, or — in a few cases — wanted to see gear-swappers penalized in some fashion. Those who do swap gear generally do so for the raw power advantage it gives, so we wanted any solution we went with to provide the same level of power. Overall, our analysis of the situation really hammered home one stark truth: we needed to come up with a way to make our Magic Find system more fun.

    Level 60 Rewards

    We understand that some players feel frustrated once they hit level 60 because they no longer feel like they’re making progress. It can be demoralizing to play for an hour, not get any drops, and also be out a big chunk of gold from repair costs. Your play session may not only end without an upgrade, it can wind up being a net loss. Everyone wants to feel like they’re making some progress when they log in, even if they don’t get that new sword.

    Bar

    Introducing the Paragon System

    The new Paragon system coming in patch 1.0.4 is designed to address Magic Find gear-swapping while providing players who’ve reached level 60 with an extended progression system.

    Here’s how it works:

    • After you hit level 60, any further experience you earn from killing monsters will begin to count toward Paragon levels
    • There are 100 Paragon levels
    • Every Paragon level will reward you with:
      • Core stats such as Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, and Vitality in amounts similar to what you’d gain from a normal level
      • 3% Magic Find and 3% Gold Find
    • In addition, a distinctive increasingly-impressive border will surround your character portrait in the in-game party frame to denote your Paragon progression, with a new frame earned after every ten levels. Your Paragon level will also be visible to other players wherever your normal level is shown

    We know that a lot of you out there are level 60 — maybe on multiple characters — and this system provides a way to make progress every time you log in to the game.

    Paragon System

    To support the new system, Nephalem Valor (NV) will now also provide a 15% experience bonus per stack, applicable toward Paragon levels. The first Paragon level should take about as long as it took most players to get from level 59 to 60, and the experience requirement will rise from there. The time to reach the upper Paragon levels approximates the long-term time investment required to get a level 99 character in Diablo II.

    … What Was That About Magic Find On Items?

    While the benefits to progression are obvious, you may be asking how this impacts Magic Find on items. We wanted to find a solution that was not only very forgiving of gear swapping, but one that would ultimately help us slowly and gently move Magic Find off of items in the future. It’s such an intrinsically important stat to the core purpose of playing the game that tying it to gear — which is a customization system in many ways — is ultimately an approach that would continue to cause problems. We need to transition away from it, and do so in a way that doesn’t flip the entire game end-over-end.

    With the Paragon system in place, we’re capping Magic Find and Gold Find to 300% (before Nephalem Valor). This means that without any Magic Find gear at all, you’ll hit the cap when you reach Paragon level 100. This way, you can continue wearing your current Magic Find gear as you slowly but surely work to gain Paragon levels. Eventually, once you hit Paragon level 100, you’ll have the freedom to completely focus every slot on stats that help your character kill stuff faster and stay alive longer. The idea is that if you’re currently swapping gear in and out for the Magic Find bonuses, you can continue to do so… but gain enough Paragon levels, and you won’t need to anymore.

    Portraits for Paragon Levels

    Phew…

    The Paragon system is a fairly big addition to the game, and one we’re pretty excited about. On behalf of the entire Diablo III development team, we hope you enjoy the changes we’re making with patch 1.0.4, and we look forward to seeing you in-game when it releases. Stay tuned to Diablo3.com for the final patch notes and official launch announcement in the days ahead.

    Jay Wilson is Game Director for Diablo III, and his Necron army is WAY better than your Eldar army.

    Missed the recent updates on Patch 1.0.4?  Be prepared and get them all here.