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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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Travis Day weighs in on Reaper of Souls Legendary Item drop rates

Posted 23 Jan 2014 by

Travis Day

Travis Day

Travis day has visited the ever popular MVP critique thread and dropped some hefty insight. Travis delves into the disparity of loot, Reaper of Souls legendary item drop rates, current drop rates and the ideal ratio of loot vs time spent.

Nothing is spoken about the color of legendary crafting materials and I’m sure Flux is still dismayed. The posts and more after the bump


Hello folks,

This has been a topic of much discussion within the community so I wanted to take the time to sit down and talk to everyone about drop rates. I’ll start out by saying when F&F went out we set the rates far higher than we knew was appropriate because we wanted to get as much feedback and testing on the new and revised legendary and set items as possible. Over the course of F&F the unanimous feedback both internally and from the community was that the drop rates were too high. We knew this ahead of time but we wanted testers to get their hands on as many cool things as possible while also helping us debug and, ya know, test things.

Travis started the interaction than followed up on questions/comments/critiques.


Hello folks,

This has been a topic of much discussion within the community so I wanted to take the time to sit down and talk to everyone about drop rates. I’ll start out by saying when F&F went out we set the rates far higher than we knew was appropriate because we wanted to get as much feedback and testing on the new and revised legendary and set items as possible. Over the course of F&F the unanimous feedback both internally and from the community was that the drop rates were too high. We knew this ahead of time but we wanted testers to get their hands on as many cool things as possible while also helping us debug and, ya know, test things.

Going into our subsequent beta waves we said we wanted to start narrowing in on what the appropriate drop rates were for legendaries. We had set forth some goals and stated internally what our design intent was so we adjusted these values to reflect a more practical farming environment. As a general rule people won’t speak up if you being too rewarding, usually only a handful of people in a crowd will vocalize that “things may be a bit too high” in terms of drop rate. So when the entirety of our player base and internal team were swarming us with this feedback we knew the drop rates were actually FAR too high. Based on that feedback and also the detailed drop rate data that we track and review on a daily basis, we lowered the drop rates to something more reasonable and closed to what we wanted for release of RoS. For the record, I literally told people internally that I actively wanted to hear the feedback that drop rates were too low. We decisively found where too high was, we needed to find the lower bounds of reasonable so that we could narrow in on a place that would be best for the game.

Now with that said, the data that we have has shown us that drop rates are in the right ball park but that’s not to say they are final. A big piece of the pie that was missing was that we always intended for Kadala to be able to generate legendary items. More specifically she was intended to help give players more direct control over their ability to find specific items they were after. Not to the tune of “I want X item so I buy it” but we wanted players to have a degree of control by saying “Man I really want X helm, so I’ll spend all my Blood Shards buying helms and try to get the one I’m after eventually”. The environment that you have all been playing in has been missing this key piece of the puzzle for quite some time. When we are talking about the overall income of legendary items and finding a good pace for them Kadala has always been intended to factor into this. We are very actively tracking data and adjustments will be made to narrow in more as we proceed. However since obviously you all haven’t had the insight into these conversations I’m here to say that you’ve only been seeing a piece of the pie and with the latest patch should now be seeing the full picture.

A couple of other related notes, Rifts have always been intended to feel highly rewarding and we don’t think they are there yet. We want the obvious answer when someone asks “Whats the most rewarding thing I can kill with the time I have?” to be Rifts, this is part of why access to them is restricted by keys, they are meant to be AWESOME!. We have a plan changed that I’ll be hotfixing in hopefully today or tomorrow to add a reasonably large number of Blood Shards to the loot run boss but more importantly to give him a chance to drop Forgotten Souls. One of the problems that has been expressed here is how legendary and rares compare, barring the obviously build changing ones. A large part of the reason that players sometimes have a hard time replacing a rare with a legendary that should be an upgrade is because, generally, you are comparing rares that have been enchanted many times over to a stock legendary. We want the act of enchanting legendaries to have some degree of investment but what you are seeing in the beta is too much. In addition to being able to use the, soon to be acquired, crafting mats to enchant your legendary items it will also allow everyone a reasonable amount more access to the crafting legendaries.

Lastly on the topic of split farming, this is very clearly not how we want players to play the game. We know of the problems it causes as well as the reasons its occurring and are actively discussing ways to address the problem. While we love coop and we want players to enjoy playing the game together, the right answer should obviously not be “Lets play coop and all go solo in the game!”. I’m walking into a meeting as soon as I post this to discuss the issue and possible solutions.

Hopefully this helps clear the air some and I’ll touch back in later to answer more questions.

Kudos to Travis for weighing into this quagmire. It has to be tough to try to please everyone, and even with the right answer you’ll upset someone else.Not to say I’m defending him but it has to be daunting. Obviously the term “in the ballpark”is a scary thought and Travis quickly took to some responses:


Me again to clarify a couple things.

First off, Kadala is not meant to be the primary source of legendary items, she is meant as a self targeted supplement to the items you find from killing monsters. Diablo is an ARPG and killing monsters should always be the most rewarding thing to do. If Kadala is representing too large a portion of the incoming legendary items than I will address that. She’s meant to be a bonus, not the primary loot acquiring mechanism.

Second, the drop rates being “in the ballpark” means they aren’t off by a factor of 10. The F&F drop rates were at least 5 times higher than what we were aiming for, and the current drop rates are probably likely within the 50-100% range. Again Kadala is meant to cover some of this ground and if she ends up covering more than we want her to we will reduce her chance to generate legendary items and shift the difference into the monsters. It’s a big ballpark but from a top down look, it’s not TOO far from where we want it to be.

I’ve found myself on the end of the spectrum where monsters and Kadala are not giving me much so I may have hesitation to hear the drop rates are 50-100%. However I can also see where the F&F was too high so I can assume game development is hard.


Let me ask you this. What amount of time do you personally think it should take to get a legendary?

After you answer that I’ll give you guys some insight into the numbers we have for contrast.

I’ll say outright that when it comes to rewards what players want and what designers want are generally not going to sync up. We have a game trying to meet the demands of a huge spectrum of players. It’s important to us that everyone have a good experience regardless of how little they play, this is a huge part of why first kill legendary drops were added to bosses. It’s also important to us that people who enjoy playing the game for hundreds of hours to be able to do so without completely exhausting the rewards in a week.

This is something we kind of touched on last podcast. Uniques rained from the sky in d2 but a lot of them were crap. That didn’t diminish the greatness from a good drop however. Right now D3′s legendaries are dropping far too sparsely and are of such a low quality that a great drop seems both far off and far fetched.


Honestly the numbers you guys are throwing out are all reasonable, they are also pretty close to the drop rates that our data is showing. I said I’d show and tell a little so I will.

The drop rates in F&F alpha were as long as 40 minutes per legendary and in the case of MP6 Crushing Blow farming as short as 20 minutes per legendary.

The data that we currently have shows legendary drop rates at roughly 2 hours per, and that’s before Kadala was changed to be able to give legendary items.

The fact that some people claim to go for 10+ hours without finding a legendary is not only not our intent, but should in fact be impossible. We added a system in the expansion that tracks the amount of time you spend fighting creatures without finding a legendary and after a certain period of time will slowly start increasing the legendary drop rate. Once a legendary drops for you, actual item not crafting recipe or material, we reset that timer. This is meant to be a safety net so that the random can never be too extreme to the negative end. If players are legitimately going 18+ hours and not seeing a legendary it’s possible that there are some bugs floating around that need to be identified.

And before anyone responds saying TWO HOURS IS TOO LONG! let me say that we know as time goes on and we patch content or players get better gear and find better specs that will not be the reality. Higher difficulties do in fact increase your chance to find legendary items, coupled with people playing in coop also increasing the rate that everyone overall finds items, etc. Our final target is roughly in the 90 minute range for advanced players. This doesn’t factor in crafting items, trading with friends in coop or any of the other means that we already know players can use to accelerate their legendary acquisition rate.

Betas are incredibly important to the development process, once upon a time we stated we wanted 4 hours per legendary. At the time that we stated that we were living in a land where people on the team had literally never seen a legendary drop so even one every 4 hours sounded like insanity. As the development of RoS has continued and as we have played and tested the game ourselves and also due to the feedback of the community we have moved to a more and more generous environment. We genuinely want D3 RoS to be everything it can be and everything you want, and every change we make when tuning the game is with that goal in mind.

So the question then remains is two hours per legendary a good ratio? I certainly haven’t found them at that rate but maybe I am an outlier. Do the drop rates they have take into account split farming? Travis addresses it as not intended but not if it has impacted their data. One every 40 minutes sounds right by comparison to my F&F experience,90 minutes seems alright but isn’t 60 a nice round number for everyone? A greater question would be: Is Diablo meant to have time played incentives? Is waiting it out an acceptable farming method? One of the things that appealed about d2 was jumping on for a short session, running Meph or Baal, and getting some shiny loot in the process. Not everything was great but you always knew you and a chance. Currently hope seems diminished by comparison. Even in Vanilla you could play for a short duration and gather something that could be sold,which in turn could get you an item you wanted. Now the option is only to wait. The other factor not addressed is the wall players seem to hit where their rare gear is not being replaced by the legendaries that they find. Perhaps if the legendaries are scaled up this wouldn’t be a problem?

As usual answers beget more questions, which beget more questions. What are your thoughts on what Travis Day had to say?

Update: And to prove that, Travis dropped by to clarify more on this subject, based on feedback to the above.