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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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PTR Patch Notes Updates

Posted 28 Sep 2012 by

More updates to patch notes have been added to the previous list. Some of them are rather interesting – for instance, they took the legendary and set drop rate, and then doubled it.


Barbarian

  • DiabloWikiWhirlwind
    • Fury cost from 16 to 9 10
    • Current cost is now a flat value per cycle + an additional cost based on attack speed. Changing this slightly so that the new continual cost is 7 flat + 3 per cycle. The end result is that the cost discrepancy between slow weapons and fast weapons has been greatly reduced.

Demon Hunter

  • DiabloWikiEvasive Fire
    • Skill Rune – Shrapnel has been replaced with a new rune: “Hardened”
    • Hardened increases your Armor by 50% 25% for 3 seconds and replaces the backflip

Wizard

  • DiabloWikiIce Armor
    • Now reduces damage from melee attacks by 8% 12%
  • Skill Rune – Crystallize
    • Armor bonus per stack reduced from 30% to 20%
  • DiabloWikiMeteor
    • Delay between cast and impact reduced from 2 seconds to 1.25 seconds
    • Arcane Power cost reduced from 60 to 50
    • Skill Rune – Star Pact
      • Proc coefficient reduced from 0.1 to 0.05
    • Skill Rune – Meteor Shower
      • Proc coefficient reduced from 0.25 to 0.10625
    • Skill Rune – Liquefy
      • Proc coefficient reduced from 0.125 to 0.10625
  • DiabloWikiRay of Frost
    • Skill Rune – Sleet Storm
    • Weapon damage increased from 215% to 333% 280%
    • Proc scalar reduced from 0.25 to 0.1875
  • DiabloWikiSpectral Blade
    • Proc coefficient reduced from 0.222 to 0.14
    • Skill Rune – Healing Blades
      • Removed Critical Hit requirement
      • Heal amount reduced from 8% to 5% of critical damage done
    • Skill Rune – Thrown Blades
    • Proc coefficient reduced from 0.111 to 0.08

Bug Fixes

  • DiabloWikiArchon: Teleport
    • Now properly breaks roots when cast
  • DiabloWikiMagic Weapon
    • Skill Rune – Blood Magic
    • Blood Magic should now work with damge over time spells (such as Archon: Disintegrate, Ray of Frost, etc)
  • Illusionist
    • Illusionist should now reset the cooldown of Archon: Teleport when it procs

Items

  • The chance for Legendary and set items to drop has been doubled

Bug Fixes

  • The Hellfire Ring can no longer be dropped on the ground
  • Mara’s Kaleidoscope can now correctly roll 3 random affixes in addition to its 3 fixed affixes
  • Fixed an issue with Nagelring and Unity legendary rings which caused them to not drop

Monsters

  • Elite modifiers have been changed slightly at higher levels:
  • The minimum stun duration required for most Elites is now 0.65 seconds (up from 0.5 seconds); stuns less than 0.65 seconds will have no effect
  • The minimum stun duration required for Rares and bosses is now 0.85 seconds (up from 0.5 seconds); stuns less than 0.85 seconds will have no effect
  • Lacunis now have a cooldown on their combo attack

Bug Fixes

  • Monsters with the Desecrator affix will no longer occasionally cast desecrator pools on players more than 50 yards away
  • Arcane Enchanted will now properly reduced their damage based on a players Damage Reduction Against Elites modifier