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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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Blizzard Makes Greater Rift Changes

Soon, Urshi won't be so hard to find.

Soon, Urshi won’t be so hard to find.

Blizzard has responded to player requests and complaints about DiabloWikiGreater Rifts and here’s the quote as Blizzard Makes Greater Rift Changes.

There has been a ton of great feedback coming our way about Greater Rifts and your experiences with them. So let me take a moment to just say thank you! It’s been super helpful to us and confirmed a lot of suspicions our development team has had regarding their current reward structure. Plenty of changes are coming in the next PTR patch that reflect these concerns.
  • Urshi will no longer only spawn when a Greater Rift is failed; instead, she will spawn at the end of every Greater Rift level. You’ll be able to choose whether you wish to upgrade your gem or, assuming that you completed that Rift within the time limit, move on to the next level.
  • The Rift Guardian will spawn at the 15 minute mark regardless of whether your bar has reached full progress. This should eliminate “the slog” at higher Greater Rifts where you fail, but have the rest of the level to go before you get your rewards.
  • The pacing for upgrading your Legendary Gems is being significantly revised.
    • Legendary gem upgrades are now more likely to receive multiple ranks per upgrade attempt at higher Greater Rift tiers, to a maximum of 4 ranks at a time.
      • This is in addition to the higher chance to upgrade gained at each additional Greater Rift tier.
    • To compensate for this change, individual ranks are less powerful. The rate of power accrual will roughly be the same, you’ll just experience it more frequently!

These are some pretty significant changes to the Greater Rift reward scheme and they should vastly improve your experience when completing and conquering higher Greater Rift tiers. Be sure to let us know what you think once these changes are on our PTR!

These sound like improvements to me and all of them come in direct response to common player complaints. What’s left to fix?

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Official Site Updates Reveal Numerous Items Changes

Posted 26 Mar 2012 by

As pointed out in Azzure’s forum thread and a detailed email from kamu, there are some big changes to the official site’s game info. This is interesting for the changes, and also since Blizzard’s site is updated as a database, like our DiabloNut, in that the info is pulled directly from the game files. Diablonut can only pull from the latest beta patch, but the official site has access to the latest version of the full game, and thus gives us a useful preview of things to come.

There are big changes to the crafting system, with the generic Page of Training removed and replaced by Pages of Blacksmithing, Pages of Jewelcrafting, Tome of Blacksmithing, and Tomes of Jewelcrafting. As you’d guess from the names, these are used to train the DiabloWikiBlacksmith and the DiabloWikiJeweler, but they are also a required material in all of the higher level crafting recipes. Previously those pages and tomes were only needed to train up the Artisans and became useless after that. No more! Now you’ll be saving them up forever, especially once you get to Inferno, where you’ll need a new type found only on that level.

Tome of Secrets: Tome of incredible power, used by the most skilled artisans to train their abilities and craft potent items.

These are required in every Inferno level armor or weapon crafting recipe (which is more than half of them) and they’re required for higher level Artisan training, and even to upgrade the higher level gems. Let’s hope they drop pretty regularly, on Inferno.

Click through to read more details on numerous new game stuffs, including crafting item changes, big changes to the whole crafting item system, lots of new Legendary item info, gems changes, and more.


Crafting and Materials

Another change can be seen on the Crafting Materials page, which has been simplified again. Long ago we had white, blue, yellow, and orange DiabloWikimaterials for all four difficulty levels. A few patches ago white materials were removed, and now legendary are gone as well, until DiabloWikiInferno when the Fiery Brimstone makes its appearance. (Interestingly, there are no legendary recipes listed, so not a single Blacksmith recipe requires that legendary material.) Normal, Nightmare, and Hell only have blue and yellow mats, which greatly simplifies the system, for better or worse.

You can see these material changes in the new recipes on the Blacksmith and Jeweler crafting pages. These seem to match the current beta state of the game, where there are only a fraction as many recipes as we saw in earlier beta patches. Previously there was a new, slightly improved plan for every item type every 6 or 8 levels, which made for a very simple upgrade system. You’d craft a blue item at level 5 or 6, and by level 10 or 12, when the first item was growing underpowered, another recipe for a big upgrade of the same type of item (sword, chest armor, one-handed xbow, helm, wand, etc) would become available. And then another one at level 18ish, then 24ish, and so on.

This must have seemed good in dev theory, but it was way too easy in practice. It gave players no reason to bother trying to find items, since you could always craft something better, and players often joked that monsters might as well just drop materials, to save us the time spent picking items up and salvaging them. This new system reduces the number of crafting recipes greatly, and again makes item hunting (from monsters and chests and NPC merchants) a factor in the early game.

Also note how heavily-focused on the end game the crafting recipes are. There are 201 listed for the Blacksmith, more than half of which have a level 60 minimum requirement, and every one of those requires at least one (usually five or more) Tomes of Secrets. Some of the highest level recipes have crazy costs; how about 67/19/19! To assemble those materials you’d have to salvage 19 rare items, plus 42 blue items (all items found on Inferno), and find 19 Tomes of Secrets. And that’s just one try; you’d probably want to craft it multiple times to get a really good roll on the random mods.


Legendary Items

Legendary items are much changed as well. There are still only a few listed (and Bashiok confirmed that there are many more not yet displayed), and they still don’t list their properties. But the DPS listings are very different than base items of the same type, and you can kind of discern the sort of modifiers they’ll have from comparing those values.

Compare the Azurewrath to the other level 60 one-handed swords, or the Windforce to the other level 60 bows, for instance. The others just list the base item stats, and their potential number of modifiers. Windforce lists a vastly higher damage and faster attack rate; features derived from the item’s properties… which are not yet listed.

Also note that the damage type is shown by the splash graphic behind the item icon. On the crossbows page you have a big icy snowflake behind the infamous Burrito Cannon, poison behind Pus Spitter, flames behind Hellrack, etc. Nice indication there that the returning D2 uniques will have mods that honor their original forms.


Gems

Gems have changed as well. Now socketing bonuses are only listed for weapons and helmet; “other” is gone, so presumably are sockets in things like body armor, belts, pants, amulets, and other objects that previously had them. I guess shields are gone too, since grouping them in with weapons would seem weird.

If you guys have noted other new changes, or just interesting details, fire them into the comments where everyone can benefit and debate.


Tagged As: | Categories: Inferno, Items, Legendary Items