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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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Guide: Legendary Gems

legendary gems guideLegendary Gems were first officially revealed in the Patch 2.1 preview blog back in June of this year.   They will be added to Reaper of Souls in Patch 2.1, and are currently undergoing testing on the PTR.

The gems add special bonuses when socketed in rings and amulets (only on Characters and not on Followers), and can be upgraded in power via DiabloWikiUrshi, the NPC who appears after Greater Rifts are cleared.

While the developers are calling them “legendary gems” these socketables have nothing in common with regular DiabloWikigems in stats or appearance, and are more analogous to the Rainbow Facet unique jewels of Diablo 2. The main difference in Diablo 3 is that these gems can only be socketed in jewelry, and the way the gems can be upgraded to improve their functions over time.

Legendary Gems Listing

While the Legendary Gems are still undergoing development on the DiabloWikiPTR, their stats and bonuses are changing constantly. A major revision was created on July 15, 2014 with new or upgraded stats for almost every gem. The following are the most current details about Legendary Gems.

 

DiabloWikiBane of the Powerful
bane of the powerful
  • Gain 30% increased damage for 20 seconds after killing an elite pack.
  • Upgrade rank grants: +1 second buff duration.
  • Rank 50 unlocks: Gain 20% bonus damage to elites.
DiabloWikiBane of the Trapped
bane of the trapped
  • Increase damage against enemies under control-impairing effects by 20%.
  • Upgrade rank grants: +0.5% damage.
  • Rank 50 unlocks: Gain an aura that reduces the movement speed of enemies within 15 yards by 30%.
DiabloWikiBoon of the Hoarder
  • 30% chance on killing an enemy to cause an explosion of gold.
  • Upgrade rank grants: +1% chance on kill.
  • Rank 50 unlocks: Gain 30% increased movement speed for 3 seconds after picking up gold.
 DiabloWikiEnforcer
 enforcer
  • Increase the Critical Hit Chance of your pets by 20%.
  • Upgrade rank grants: +0.4% Critical Hit Chance. Max +20% upgrade (+40% total).
  • Rank 50 unlocks: Your pets are unkillable.
Bliz Note: As was discussed in another thread, allowing this this gem to rank up to +100% pet Crit would likely cause undesired gearing issues and probably be a little out of line.
DiabloWikiGem of Efficacious Toxin
gem of efficacious toxin
  • Poison all enemies hit for 1000% weapon damage over 10 seconds.
  • Upgrade rank grants: +20% weapon damage over 10 seconds.
  • Rank 50 unlocks: All enemies you poison take 10% increased damage from all sources.
DiabloWikiGogok of Swiftness
 gogok of swiftness
  • 50% chance on hit to gain Swiftness, increasing your Attack Speed by 2% for 3 seconds. This effect stacks up to 10 times.
  • Upgrade rank grants: +1% chance.
  • Rank 50 unlocks: Gain 2% Cooldown Reduction per stack of Swiftness.
 DiabloWikiInvigorating Gemstone
 invigorating gemstone
  • While under any control-impairing effects, reduce all damage taken by 30%.
  • Upgrade rank grants: +1%. Maximum +50% upgrade (80% total).
  • Rank 50 unlocks: Heal for 20% of maximum life when hit by control-impairing effect.
 DiabloWikiMirinae, Teardrop of Starweaver
 Mirinae, Teardrop of Starweaver
  • 15% chance on hit to smite a nearby enemy for 1000% weapon damage as Holy.
  • Upgrade rank grants: +20% weapon damage.
  • Rank 50 unlocks: Smite a nearby enemy every 5 seconds.
 DiabloWikiMoratorium
 Moratorium
  • 30% of all damage taken is instead staggered and dealt to you over 3 seconds.
  • Upgrade rank grants: +0.1 second to the stagger duration.
  • Rank 50 unlocks: 10% chance on kill to clear all staggered damage.
 DiabloWikiPain Enhancer
 Pain Enhancer
  • Critical hits cause the enemy to bleed for 500% weapon damage as Physical over 3 seconds.
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Why We Will Never See a Jay Wilson B.net Forum Post

Posted 17 Mar 2011 by

We Diablo fans have long wondered when/if we’d start to get some blue posts by the D3 devs. Not that Bashiok’s posts are worthless, given how little he’s allow to say, but the chance to hear directly from the developers is the reason we watch Blizzcon panels and read interviews. To date, none of the D3 Team have ever posted anything in the B.net forums, but we fans have been waiting and hoping for them to start doing so… perhaps once the beta is underway? After all, the SC2 devs posted regularly during that game’s beta, debating balance and discussing other game issues with fans, and the head WoW dev, Ghostcrawler, (Greg Street) has long been a participant in the WoW forums.

Well, he used to be. As Bashiok explained in reply to an Open Letter to Ghostcrawler thread, those days are over, apparently for all Bliz games. Bashiok’s reply is quite long, so here’s the start. Click through to read the whole thing and my dismayed but unsurprised reaction.

These forums have always been about players talking to players. We don’t want to foster the expectation that it’s going to get a blue response if someone tries hard enough (lol I’m replying to a thread calling for a blue). While GC added a lot to these forums (and I say ‘these forums’ because he only posted in the North America forums) we think we can reach more players, particularly those in other regions, more directly through the blogs, or concerted Q&A’s. Blogs also tend to be a better medium for getting the message out there loud and clear, but does have downsides that it removes the conversation that we know is appreciated quite a bit.

While forum posts do lend themselves to that conversational approach, they actually have a lot of downsides to them from our perspective of attempting to get clear and clean information to the players. They aren’t very visible is really the first and maybe biggest problem. You can liken forum posts and the information given in them to some of the displeasure surrounding how hotfixes are communicated. I may reply to a thread 20 times and in my #13 reply I say something really important regarding class balance. Who is going to see that? How quickly will that knowledge actually permeate? Will the message be kept clear? Will my clarification in post #17 that explains what people are misunderstanding in #13 be seen by everyone that read #13?

Update: Click through to the bottom for an update on Bashiok’s comment about this post, via the B.net forums.

Bashiok’s reply continued:

People tend not to read past the first blue post in a thread, or skip around and don’t read them all, so if you have a correction/addendum to the first post, or just expound upon a thought, it’s generally lost on the majority of readers. Blue trackers can help with this, but we’re generally not having to explain that “post #13 wasn’t the end of the thought and it’s being taken out of context” to people who just go to blue trackers.

Forum posts also tend to be fairly quickly written by one of us without much in the way of peer-review, and anything written off-the-cuff like a reply to a thread can tend to be more precarious than a more substantive outlet that has an official process of review and correction before its posted (like the blogs). Much to the dismay of many forum goers I’m sure, there’s just an infinitely smaller chance we’ll say something stupid or mess up in a fully published blog post.

As with anything we do, we never believe we’re perfect. There’s always room to improve. The blogs may not be the best outlet but we’re continually working to improve upon the content we’re delivering, and have some pretty exciting stuff planned. We’re also working to make the comment system for the blogs a bit more like the forums so conversation can be held there more easily, as well. Of course you’ve no doubt see we’re running a recurring global Ask the Devs Q&A. It’s one way where we’re hoping to fill that gap of direct developer interaction that the blogs probably just can’t hit. We think the Q&A’s are going to be extremely popular and fill a big part of what made GC’s interactions on here so useful. And we?re going to continue collecting feedback and posting when appropriate, but we’ll also be trying to come up with additional ways to facilitate the communication between the developers and players.

Also GC wanted me to let you know: “It’s Dr. not Mr., get it right.”

…I appreciate everyone’s feedback, it’s actually been pretty helpful and I think we can incorporate more of what you’re looking to get out of the blog into future features.

The blog launching was really a shock to the system for us, and in many ways we’re still adapting to it and trying to find out how to best leverage it. But the world keeps turning and the tasks keep renewing themselves. We’re not going to stop though, and will hit all of our communication intentions one way or another.

It will surprise no one who has endured my past remarks on Blizzard’s community relations to learn that I’m disappointed, though not at all surprised, by this development. For more than a decade, and especially since the Activision “merger,” Blizzard has become ever more corporate, as Bliz Irvine PR has raised barrier after barrier between their developers and the fans.

Blizzard hardly attends any gaming conventions other than Blizzcon, and when they do they send uncommunicative PR drones as spokespeople. They present their games and new game info almost exclusively at Blizzcon, where they run everything, only invite friendly media, and limit access to their devs to panel presentations, occasional public Q&As, and give the press only tightly-timed interviews where PR babysitters are usually in attendance. Their CMs are no longer permitted to post on any fansites; just on Battle.net. Media access to Blizzard and their devs has been continually reduced and controlled. Fansites have been forced to agree to ever more restrictive “don’t say anything we don’t want you to say” requirements to remain in the FanSite Program. Blizzard has started their own official blog community sites (for WoW and SC; D3’s coming soon) where they can control the message and never link out to actual fansites. And now the one remaining developer who actually posted directly on the forums has finally been silenced.

All for the good of the community, of course. As Bashiok so politely explained in the above, corporate/PR-approved, essay.

I don’t think this ever-growing secrecy and control is necessarily hurting the quality of their games, but it’s certainly draining vitality from the Blizzard gaming community, as PR works hard to maintain total control of the message, to silence or marginalize dissenting voices, and to keep their fans from seeking out outside opinions or information on Blizzard’s games and company activities. Blizzard still makes great games, but they’ve left all of their humble, accessible, friendly, fan-oriented roots long behind. For better or worse.

Update: Bashiok replied, rather vaguely, to a thread about this on the B.net forums. Here’s his whole comment:

Hahaha, oh Flux.

Bashiok did not speak to me about this issue via IM, so I don’t have any additional insight to give into his meaning here. Bashiok is able to think for himself; he’s not a complete PR drone, but he is definitely limited in what he can say or do in his job. Based on past conversations, I think Bashiok largely buys into Blizzard’s ongoing PR initiatives, and honestly thinks they are beneficial for the Diablo community on the whole. (Not that he’d quit if he disagreed, but I think he does his job without gritting his teeth, so long as he’s not defending something manifestly horrid, like the abandoned mandatory DiabloWikiReal ID forum posting plan.)

I’m sure Bashiok realizes that the various policy changes referenced in this post are highly unpopular with most long-time Diablo followers, and certainly with non-ass-kissing fansite webmasters like myself. But he’s not going to quit in solidarity or anything. We’re simply the eggs that must be broken for Blizzard’s community relations omelet.