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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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Reaper of Souls Legendary Item Gallery #4, Plus Strategy

Posted 31 Jan 2014 by

We posted one, two, three big collections of legendary items earlier in the beta, but it’s been a while. So now it’s back, and bigger than ever! (As she said.) Glory in a fresh Reaper of Souls Legendary Item Gallery with over 100 level 70 legendary and set items, the majority of which were found by myself and other members of the INC guild in the past week since the new improved legendary drop rates went in.

Everyone loves a good nosy.

Everyone loves a good nosy.

Guilds have a very cool feature that anytime someone loots (but not gambles) a legendary everyone in their guild who is online at that time sees a notification in the text box, and they can click it to see the new score. Those announcements also go into the Guild notification messages, and anyone in the guild can scroll through those and see what the others found since you were last online. Handy, a conversation starter in-game, and helpful for someone like me collecting such images for gallery updates.

I’ll put all the pics in a huge gallery below, sorted by name, but first here are some of the more interesting finds with some individual commentary about how legendaries and the overall item game is going in Reaper of Souls.

It’s interesting to find the updated lvl 70 versions of some of the better (or the useless) Diablo 3 legendary items. This is the first Mempo I’ve seen in RoS (I didn’t find it) and it’s excellent, but the limits on primary stats keep any item from being as OP as this hat is in classic D3. So it’s got a big mainstat roll, res all, a socket, and the special bonus to IAS (which generally has smaller values in RoS than it did in D3). But the +10-12% life and the additional random roll that might pop to Critical Chance can’t be rolled in RoS. (Or perhaps the Res All and/or Mainstat are random?)

In any event, you’ll never get a Mempo with 5 primary affixes + the inherent IAS, as the old D3 version can roll. You could add Crit Chance to this, but you’d have to enchant one of the 4 mainstats into it, and of them the AllRes or IAS is the most expendable, in terms of making the least difference to your well-geared lvl 70 char.

Newly-found Mempo of Twilight in Reaper of Souls.

Newly-found Mempo of Twilight in Reaper of Souls.


Legendary Jewelery

Not yet enchanted...

Not yet enchanted…

The best piece of jewelry I’ve found so far in RoS is a Unity ring, and it’s spectacular. Aside from that, I’ve found maybe a dozen orange rings and amulets, and none of them have been better than my best rare jewelry, and that’s still true even now that more Legs + Forgotten Souls are dropping, which makes enchanting Legendaries much more possible than it was earlier in the beta.

My Monk is my best char, geared enough to handle Torment 1 pretty easily, and he’s wearing sets and legendaries in every slot… except for rings and amulet. What’s the problem with legendary jewelry, then?

Click through for that, plus the huge galleries of set and legendary items.

The issue with rings and amulets, and also with Gloves, is that you really want damage stats on those items, and with only 4 primary affixes, you pretty much have to hit all of them. There are 5 damage stats of most utility. In roughly descending value they are, Critical hit Chance, Critical Hit Damage, Mainstat, +damage, and Increased Attack Speed.

That’s not the classic DiabloWikitrifecta order of Diablo 3, since IAS is much less valuable (for paper DPS, at least) in RoS. There are a few reasons for that, but chiefly:

  1. Mainstat rolls much higher (500-800 in RoS vs 100-200 in D3).

  2. IAS rolls lower (4-6% in RoS vs. 8-12% in D3).
  3. And +damage is more impactful with so much higher mainstat leveraging it. (This goes for Crit Chance and Crit Damage as well.)

So, for a top quality ring/amulet you pretty much have to have CC, CD, Mainstat, and either +damage or IAS, and you get that, or even 3 parts of that with a 4th primary you can enchant, on a very tiny % of jewelry. And since you find or can gamble 100 rare rings/amulets for every legendary, it’s just an issue of RNG and probability. (Legendaries *should* be better long term, since they can roll higher values for mainstat than Rares can, not even counting their special legendary properties or affixes.)

The best legendary jewelry I see keeps coming very close, often with 2 of the quinfecta stats in the primary affixes, but usually some other useful stat like +vit or AllRes is crowding out the desired damage affixes. And sure, +95 AllRes or +450 Vitality is very useful, but you can get those stats from other armor pieces where you can not get the damage stats. Many of the rings and amulets can *never* be top quality, since they’ve got 2 or 3 inherent stats that aren’t the damage ones you need on a piece of jewelry.

Bul-Kathos’ Wedding Band, for instance.

The inherent life steal is pretty weak.

The inherent life steal is pretty weak.

The inherent life steal is pretty weak.

The inherent life steal is pretty weak.

There’s an inherent roll to mainstat (great) and Critical Hit Damage (great) but while Life per Hit and +Life% are very good mods, they’re not what you want on jewelry, and those all seem to be inherent stats with no variation allowed on this ring. You could enchant the +Life% into Crit Chance and make a very good ring, but it would never be truly top of the line on DPS, which is what most players want from their fingerlings.

The big exception to this trend is the Unity I thumbed above, since it rolled with a trifecta, the LpH can be enchanted to Crit Damage for a great quadfecta, the +damage roll is much higher than a rare can get… and the special property is a giant +12% damage to Elites which is not something a rare ring can roll. That’s a hugely-useful affix, especially in Torment+, where boss hit points are off the charts.


Enchanting Jewelry

The final problem with legendary jewelry is enchanting. It’s much better now than it was a week ago, when Forgotten Souls were so hard to come by (each enchant of a legendary or set uses up a FS), but they are still pretty scarce. Furthermore, the massive array of possible affixes on jewelry, that makes rolling a trifecta or quadfecta so hard in the first place, makes replacing a dud stat with one you really want… that much harder.

If you haven’t yet had the joy of burning up all 8 of your hard-won Forgotten Souls just trying to turn a primary affix into Critical Damage on an amulet… wait. Just wait. It’s such fun! (This is not hypothetical. Goddamned amulets.)


Set Items

One of the main complaints about BoA on legendaries and the limited stash space is that it will make completing Item Sets too difficult. That might be true, but finding all of any of the end game sets was a lot harder in D2, since almost every set had at least one ultra-rare item. That’s not the case in RoS; the items in the sets aren’t spectacularly hard to find, but you’ll obviously need some luck and patience to gather them up. And isn’t that how item sets should work? Play with friends so you can trade legs, and run a tab. Today you find an item from Immortal King that your Barb friend wants, next week he finds Inna’s helm that your Monk wants. BFFs forever! (Good luck on the mainstat rolls.)

In the last month of the RoS beta (most of which was played with much lower leg drop rates) I’ve found several single set items, plus 2 items from Blackthorns, and 3 from Natalya’s… unfortunately 2 of those were the Cloak, as you can see in the comparison image below. I really want a third one since that’s what enables the huge 7% Crit Chance set bonus. No more does that come with just two of the items. You need three now which means it is still attainable for non Demon Hunters, but you’ll have to wear the boots and ring, plus the helm, and with the Dex bonuses in there it’s probably only a real viable gear option for the Monk. (The Cloak and xbow in the set are DH-only.)

One thing I don’t so much like about sets is that almost all the set bonuses are very utilitarian. Functional and powerful to be sure, but they’re mostly just +stat, +res, +CD or CC or IAS, etc. Most of the quirky, flavorful, build-tweaking bonuses seem to be on individual legendary items, rather than set items, or from Item Set bonuses. I’d like to see a bit more flavor from set bonuses.


Torment Legendaries

Sadly, I have little to say here. I’ve played a fair amount of torment with my Monk and some with my DH (that’s where she found her second Natalya’s Embrace) and have thus far found zero legendaries that were any different or better or special, compared to the legs found in lower difficulties.

The legendary drop rate is supposed to be much higher in Torment, but since the killing speed is much slower (at least with my current gear) I find more legs per hour facerolling through Hard.

There are supposed to be special higher quality legendaries in Torment, but I’ve not found any yet. The legs I have found have been indistinguishable (in type and roll) from the ones I find in lower difficulties.

There are supposed to be special Legendary crafting plans that only drop in Torment and above, but their drop rate is so ultra-rare now I don’t know that you’d ever notice. I’ve found a total of one crafting plan since the last patch “fixed” their buggy-high drop rate, and it was from a Treasure Goblin knot in a Nephalem Rift on Hard difficulty. (And crafting legs/sets is of dubious value now anyway, with most of the results much too randomized and lacking in special legendary properties to be worth the time and expense to create.)

I haven’t played anywhere near enough Torment for my finds (and non-finds) there to be anything more than statistical noise, but if you’re planning to crash and crawl your way into Torment, spurred by a belief that once there you will swiftly and surely find uber items beyond anything you could get in lower difficulties… good luck, but I’ve seen zero evidence to support that strategy.

For now it’s best to gear up and zoom through Normal or Hard, racking up the most kills, the most Shards, and finding the most legendary items possible. If your goal is efficiency, don’t even think about Torment until you have good legendaries in almost every slot, and are able to blast it yourself. Unless you’re planning to party leech or you have friends who can pull you,

My Monk has nearly 800k DPS and most Elite fights still feel pretty slow, so I’d think 1000k is a good standard for pretty quick Torment 1 killing… though that varies greatly between the classes. Monks run pretty low on “paper” DPS since they don’t have any straight out +%damage passives. My DH in my Monks’ gear is over 1000k DPS standing in town, and she’s nowhere near his killing speed or survival in Torment.


Legendary Items Gallery

The full orange gallery. Enjoy.

Questions or comments on legs in RoS? Hit it.