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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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    Reaper of Souls Legendary Items: Beta Gallery #3

    Posted 4 Dec 2013 by

    Here’s another big batch of freshly-found orange and green delights. It’s our Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls legendary item gallery #3! (See gallery #1 and gallery #2 if you missed them.) As with the others, all these items were actually found in game; some by our various IncGamers testers, others by friends, others seen in streams and or in chat (people regularly post their new leg finds in the general chat in the beta).

    Makes fat little piggies?

    Makes fat little piggies?

    As the Reaper of Souls beta continues, our understanding of the legendaries and the overall item game is coming into better focus. Our first legendary gallery drew a lot of negative comments from people who seemed to be expecting most of the new RoS legendaries to be themed and largely non-random, with numerous stats you don’t see on Rares. That’s not the case, and now that we’ve seen hundreds of legendaries in RoS, they’re not so complicated. Legendaries are basically Rares, with the potential for slightly higher rolls on some of the affixes (mainstat and vit, mostly), plus one special, orange-text legendary property.

    These seem to be pre-set; the same legendary always has the same property, though there may be exceptions I haven’t noted yet. The utility of these legendary properties varies greatly, and presumably will be a chief target for balancing and tweaking during the remainder of the beta test.

    There are very few properties left on legendaries that can’t be found on a rare of that item type. This was a big reason behind many of the BiS legs in D3 (Inna’s Pants, Mempo, Witching Hour, Lacuni’s) and that’s probably a reason we don’t see much of it anymore — to promote more diversity of choices for each item slot. There are a few that still have special mods; Andariel’s Visage with the “takes increased fire damage”, Cindercoat still has +damage to all your fire skills, but those are very rare. The vast majority of RoS legendaries have no mods that a rare of the same item type couldn’t get.

    The mainstat rolls on Legendaries are almost always “smart drop” tweaked to match your class. Exceptions are class-specific legendaries which seem to only roll the mainstat of the class that can use them, but most legendaries that can be used by any class will roll with the mainstat your class would like most of the time. You do occasionally get one with INT or STR while playing a Monk or DH, and it’s always a bit of a surprise. This isn’t to say that all legs roll with mainstat; you get them without any stat, or with just Vit, once in a while.

    Click through for a few more legendaries with specific comments about their special properties, and the whole gallery of 44 new legendaries for your viewing pleasure.


    Selected Legendary Report

    A few I’ve found and used, with varying degrees of success.

    leg-shi-mizus-haori2
    I was trying to figure a build or class that could really use this. How do you stay below 30% hit points without dying? It’s obviously not one that HC chars are going to really enjoy, but it’s not impossible to use in RoS since your character gets such a large health pool and without Life Steal you can’t refill it super quickly.


    leg-goldskin2

    I’m curious to try this and see how much gold really falls. The Gladiator’s Gauntlets that make a dozen gold stacks rain down when you score a killing spree are very fun (if bafflingly unthematic), and these can’t make that much gold come from every enemy, but showers of coins are fun. Much more fun in RoS than in D3, now that there’s no Auction House and you can’t raise easy gold by selling your unwanted items/mats/gems.


    leg-pandemonium-loop1
    This sounds cool, but it was disappointing and unusable on my Monk when he found it. 1) The “bloody explosion” is a total lie (for now). Monsters who trigger it die with a small nova effect bursting out from them. It’s a red nova, but by no stretch of the imagination could you call it a “bloody explosion.” 2) Even with the enhanced chance to Fear in the stats it wasn’t a common enough thing to be a strategic debuff. 3) Monsters run really fast when they are afeared, so even if they have DoT and die while briefly scared, they’ll probably be out of range of others when they die.

    I got a five pack of Lacuni champions when I first tested this mod, and it was like they’d become Fallen. It took forever to kill them since 2 or 3 were always running off at a very high rate of speed. If there’s any use to it, perhaps a ranged attacker with a lot of AoE could enjoy it? I want to see the screen filled by frightened, exploding enemies. That sounds awesome, but not all classes have the play style to create it.

    I’d be curious to see hwo this works with other debuffs; if you had a Confuse or Stun property on top of this… would enemies get both? Or would the more recent overwrite the earlier effect?


    leg-burst-of-wrath-equip

    My Monk used the Burst of Wrath two-handed sword for a bit and loved the huge damage (I was landing 25m crits with Wave of Light, even without my other gear real optimized for damage.) but I couldn’t stand using it long term since it was just so slow. The graphic on the character selection screen was amazing, though. It looks like something I photoshopped in, or the kind of scene Hollywood sticks into every 3D movie, just because they can.

    Or, as Chef once said, “Now I know how all those white women felt.”


    leg-sun-keeper3

    Another example of removing special bonuses to individual legendaries. No more does Sun keeper have the big +Magic Find property. MF bonuses are gone from more items that had them specially, as part of the general decline in MF on gear in RoS. Note that the +damage to elites property remains on the Sun Keeper, so it’s just MF, not all special inherent mods.


    The full gallery: