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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 Guide to Diablo: IncGamers site changes – Here’s what we’ve done

Regular readers will have noticed quite a few changes on Diablo: IncGamers since the launch of Reaper of Souls which was the motivation for us to make some of the changes we had been thinking about for a while.

When RoS launched we pushed the first stage of front page layout changes live. We know everyone likes to read their content in different ways so the site was changed to a similar layout to the main IncGamers site. Of course not every one will love that format so in the past week we set to work on the second phase which was giving you the option to read the content in the old format if you so desired.

In case you hadn’t spotted it, there are a couple of buttons above the news that allow you to switch to your preferred format.

change view

Probably the toughest job we had to undertake was the forums. We have used the same forum system for around a decade and there were millions of posts to port over. It was important to us to make sure that threads from the old forum were not lost, we’d have hell to pay from you guys if they went missing :) Remember the great forum crash of 2003? That was not pretty.

So why the change? There were numerous reasons, the next version of the same forum was bloated with features that were useless to the community here. Spammers were also a consideration and the previous software was starting to struggle with the rise in spammers over the last couple of years. We needed a system that could pro- actively catch them and then make life easier for IncGamers moderators to deal with anything that managed to slip through.

The end results once we switched were good. The forums are now easier to use, faster and more robust. It’s taken some time to iron out issues with posts moved over from the old system but I would say we are 95% there with most things now. The forum is now easier to use and has more features to track new content additions.

One of the main issues we had during the change was with your logins. We have a custom login system that ties your forum account to the main site. When we moved forums that obviously broke down and had to be recreated. One of the issues we came up against was the inability for guests to post in the news and members who were logged in seeing a captcha. This was not acceptable so it took a few days for me to sort out but thankfully it now all works.

Regarding commenting on news, originally we had the news post into the community forum but as things move quite quickly here as far as content is concerned, we thought it best to create a separate forum for the news discussions. This reorganisation prevents any community forum discussion being lost in a pile of news. Your discussions are important after all.

hardrock

Trophies

Regarding accounts. Some of you have been registered here for over a decade and we have been helping members who have had login issues since the switch because they no longer have access to the email they originally registered with. If there are any of you still caught in that trap then we can sort it for you. Send an email here and we will deal with it.

With the new forums came new features, and something we’ve wanted to do for some time is highlight pro-active members and also award trophies for actions by the community. Elly sat down over a few days to come up with the points and reward system. You may have spotted the icons on threads but so you know how it works I have posted all of the trophies below for reference.

There are still a few things to do but the core updates are now in place. Your feedback on anything we do is much appreciated and a special thanks to the PALS who have helped make all the changes possible with their contributions.

Threads

Thread StarterThread Starter -Points: 15 -You have started 5 Threads
Topic RaiserTopic Raiser – Points: 45 -You have started 20 Threads
Town CryerTown Cryer – Points: 90 -You have started 50 Threads
ConfabulatorConfabulator – Points: 91 -You have started 80 Threads

Setting the Agenda Setting the Agenda – Points: 120 -You have started 120 Threads

Likes

Primary Source Primary Source – Points: 1 – Somebody out there liked one of your posts.

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On the Drawing Board #25: Paragon 2.0 = No Feeling of Character Progression?

Posted 25 Nov 2013 by

This is a very preliminary opinion, but based on nearly a week of fairly steady Reaper of Souls beta play, I’m worried that the transition to DiabloWikiParagon 2.0, the account wide Paragon Points system, plus the complete removal of any individual character growth or improvement post-level 70, is a mistake and is going to be un-fun long term.

The first look from Gamescom 2013.

The first look from Gamescom 2013.

To be fair I should say that I’ve been worried about this since the sharagon system was first announced many months ago, so maybe it’s just me. But playing so far in the RoS beta, once my characters hit 70 (I’ve done it so far with a softcore Demon Hunter and a hardcore Monk) it feels like my character advancement grinds to a a halt. Sure, my characters are progressing like mad in terms of gear, because hitting 70 in RoS is a lot like hitting 60 in D3V — in both cases you immediately quadruple your DPS/Toughness/etc, except in ROS you find the items instead of just buying them in the Auction House.

My Hardcore account is Paragon 150, and so far in my total play with my HC Monk at lvl 70, which is several games a night all week, plus the 3 hours last night during the live stream in a three player game, I’ve advanced in levels from about 150.1 to 150.35. That’s with a +33% EXP ruby in my hat and a Hellfire Ring on my finger for most of the trip, plus a HR and Leoric’s Signet on my merc when playing solo. Admittedly, I’ve been on not-very-high difficulty levels and I’ve been doing more exploring and experimenting than really trying to grind for exp, but the freshness of the beta has me playing a lot more than I usually do, and I’m still on pace to to level up once about every 4 weeks.

And here’s the best part; what would that monthly level up give me? One more Paragon Point to spend in the DiabloWikiAdventure Tab! Awesome! That’s 1 more point of maximum Resource! Or .2% more DiabloWikiPickup Radius! I can hardly wait!

Click through for less sarcasm, but more serious consideration of this (apparent) problem and some possible solutions.

Actually I can wait. I feel zero desire to grind for levels (just for equipment) at this point in Reaper of Souls, and not just because the Beta is on a sort of DiabloWikiPTR where none of the changes are permanent. The levels are going to take forever and grant me almost no benefit, so why bother trying to achieve them? It’s undoubtedly beneficial to have the levels, especially if you’ve already earned 100 or 150 or 200 from your leveling, but we earned them in D3V where level ups are frequent and the bonuses are impactful, adding considerable stats and MF/GF every time.

So, what’s the solution? I’m not sure.

I like the idea of account-wide Paragon bonus rewarding your total play time, and in D3V I don’t like the way all the MF going to one character makes me feel trapped into playing my main, since very high MF is mandatory for dependable item finds. But playing even just a week of RoS it feels like the devs have gone way too far, and that players are going to get bored with a lack of progression, and with the tiny bonuses per level, once they’ve gotten past the initial rush of constant exciting item upgrades.

I think I’d like to see some kind of hybrid system, where you accrue bonuses to your entire account, but where individual characters also get some sense of progression past 70 by scoring useful bonuses at least semi-regularly. But not bonuses that are so big or of the type (like MF/GF) that makes you feel locked into playing that one character forever.

Easy, right? Well, no, but as I often joke on the podcast, making video games is hard.


Update: I didn’t realize this until after I’d written this whole article, but the previous On the Drawing Board, from back in July, was also about Paragon 2.0. At that point we knew nothing about the system details and most fans (including me) thought it would be just some variation on the current D3V system with the passive MF/GF/EXP gains from leveling up spread across the entire account.

I like the overall account bonuses more than just some modified MF/GF/EXP bonus system, but now that I see it in action, I worry that the progression is too slow and the bonuses too minimal, and that the total focus on account bonuses at the expense of any individual character enhancement is yet another brick in the “lack of character customization” wall so many fans feel Diablo 3 has built between players and any feeling of attachment to or ownership of our characters.