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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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Trap Damage Oddities in Diablo 3

Posted 6 Dec 2012 by

The first playable version of Diablo III debuted at Blizzcon 2008, and it featured an early, much-larger version of the Old Tristram village, two levels of the Cathedral, and Leoric’s throne room for the final battle. None of Leoric’s Torture Chamber levels were included though, a fact I just verified by skimming over some of the gameplay reports I wrote from that year’s show.

The 2009 demo was set in Act Two and ended in a smaller but more dangerous version of Alcarnus (there were several Purple boss Cultists in DiabloWikiThrall form, a bit like Travincal in D2, and no butterflies). In 2010 players returned to Tristram and that year’s demo featured one level of the Torture Chambers, the short connecting Highlands Passage, and then the Prison level which was almost exactly as we see it in the final game today. (If you were quick enough to free all 6 prisoners and beat the Warden, the demo ended when you ran through to the end of the level and down the stairs to the dungeon exit.)

This *should* really hurt.

This is not an entirely useless history lesson, since I bring it up to assert that one of the most memorable images from the pre-game demos was the gauntlet of huge chopping blades that players had to pass through to exit the Torture Chamber level in the Blizzcon 2010 demo. They were intimidating, and yet welcoming since they meant you’d found the exit hallway out of the huge first dungeon level, and as I played the PvM demo about a dozen times, all on the show floor, with the 15 minute time limit, I was always rushing madly to get through as much content as possible.

Though my close attention to the game and dozens of hours of play time on the Blizzcon demos built me a memory of the pre-launch Diablo III that is (probably) unsurpassed outside of the actual devs, I do not remember what sort of damage the big blades did back then. (Sadly, they’re not mentioned in my huge Dungeons & Quests report.) I’d like to say that they were massively deadly and would almost one-shot a careless player, but either I avoided them successfully every time, or I just don’t remember.

I know how much damage they do now though, and the absurdly low danger they pose has long vexed me. To the right you see the sort of massive danger they pose to a player on Inferno, MP1. Yes, that’s a whole 513 damage, from the largest single weapon-type attack in the entire game, on a difficulty level where the first zombie outside of Tristram can deal 10k with one clumsy, slow-motion swipe at your shoulder.

I’m not advocating a one-shot death from those blades, but all the same… would it be so wrong if that occurred? With a fatality, ideally — one that bisected your character and left the two halves wriggling on the floor, as left and right tried to pull themselves back together.

Why are these huge, frightening blades so nerfed in damage? And how do they compare to traps found later in the game, some of which actually are (almost) one-shotters? Click through to read on…

Guillotine Alley

Kormac: Not paid to care.

So yeah, 538 damage is laughable for those blades on Inferno, and that’s not some freakishly low damage hit. I stood under it for a while, and it was always around 550 at the most. This is pointlessly low damage; rare is the Inferno character who doesn’t regen that much in a few seconds, and when you compare it to monsters it’s even softer. The weakest monster attack on Inferno does thousands of points of damage, and not to run into the permeable wall of Diablo physics again, but this one just looks so much bigger than almost any monster attack. Maybe Siegebreaker’s charge is more “OMG that would so kill you!” …but of course it *does* kill you!

This huge blade, which makes the Butcher’s mighty weapon look like a butter knife, needs a zero added to the damage. Maybe two.

It’s not as if the scaling up is just broken on Inferno either. I took a level 40 character back to Normal difficulty and tested it out, and the results were equally unsatisfying. Average damage per hit was about 18 on MP1, and that skyrocketed all the way up to 35ish when I tried it in another game on DiabloWikiMP10. That’s working as intended, since MP10 doubles monster damage, on Normal. (MP10 is 250% monster damage on Inferno, and was 371% when the MP system first went live.)

So it’s not like this blade just got nerfed on Inferno; it’s irrelevantly-weak on Normal, and continues that trend throughout the other difficulty levels.

Do Not Anger Happy Fun Ball

Insert Golgor here.

While thinking about this nerf blade’s damage, I recalled the exploding towers of doom in Act Three, and loaded up another game to test them out. I’ve been one-shotted by them several times, while those exploding craters don’t seem anywhere near as dangerous. At least not to high level characters; one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard was when Xanth told me that those are a bane and a terror of Hardcore characters being rushed, since it’s quite easy for the rusher to trigger the time-delayed bomb, which pops up the glowing happy fun ball just as the rushee races up, where he gets one-shotted thanks to being way too low level for the cheesy experience-soaking experiment.

Those crater mines aren’t the ones that usually get me, though. My hate is for the towers, and I’ve had a number of deaths that I never saw coming, since those dangerous mini-Eye of Sauron towers give very little visual warning, and they look just like the harmless fence post pillars you see all over the place in the Tower levels of Act Three.

WD and Donkey knocked back.

They’re easier to spot in the Crater levels, especially as they often appear in groups of 2 or 3, always warning of a Golgor spawn spot. (Sometimes the towers kill the Golgor as soon as he appears, like an internet security firm evaluating a new version of MIE.

The towers are nasty since they don’t give much visual warning that they’ve triggered, and they don’t usually show any explosion graphic or clear sign of how far the radius extends. They’re just “stay away” objects for me, especially if I’m playing a glass cannon type char on a speedy run, since I don’t have the hit points to absorb such a hit.

The do show some change; as soon as you get close enough to trigger them those orange balls drop down into the tower, which then explodes a second later. I’d noticed that a few times in the past, but it wasn’t until tonight, while testing before writing this article, that I realized that the ground turrets do the same thing, but in reverse.

Orange ball pops up, then explodes.

Those trigger when you walk over them, they make a warning noise, and their explosion is has a smaller radius. But it’s also triggered by the orange ball, except in their case it pops up out of the hole in the ground, exactly like an anti-personal mine; the type that’s designed to maim rather than kill, since it pops up to waist (crotch) level, rather than head height.

To my surprise, testing revealed another parallel between the two types of Act Three exploding ball bombs… identical damage!

I’d have bet anything that wasn’t true. My memory is of being shockingly one-shotted by the sneaky tower bombs, while the ground crater bombs are just a flesh wound, on the rare occasions I don’t avoid them. Yet while testing this with my 42k HPS Witch Doctor, I always took around 15.5k from the ground bombs, and exactly the same from the towers. Blame it on the happy fun ball.

Conclusion

So, is there a point here? I think the Act Four exploding towers need a clearer indication of imminent explosion, maybe something akin to the blue radius we now see around Frozen orbs as they’re forming and approaching explosion. I think the damage is okay, though.

My main complaint is the huge chopping blades in Act One, that do absolutely irrelevant damage. They’re so weak, compared to all other traps and especially their appearance, that I wonder if it’s a bug. If the damage is being calculated incorrectly, somehow. (Compare to the massive damage from the fires that burn through the grates on the same level, or some parts of the Keep in Act Three.)

Ground crater pretty explosion.

There aren’t a lot of other traps or environmental dangers in Diablo III, since most destructibles pass harmlessly over your character’s head. That said, it’s late and I’m sure I’m forgetting something impactful. So help me out; do you guys notice other traps or effects that should be more/less damaging? Or would you like some of the currently damage-free effects, such as the collapsing walls you get everywhere in Act One, to hurt if they fall on you?

I would, and I’d go with some more types of environmental damage in the later acts as well, if possible. How about more effects like Azmodan’s eerily-circular oil slick attack, coming out of trapped chests? Or lightning sparks here and there? Or more burn damage from the decorative fires, damage from falling rocks in the Act Two tombs, etc?

Even if these features only start to matter on Inferno, that would add some life and unpredictability to the play experience.