Home > Uncategorized > Diablo 3 Monk Buffs or Stand And Fight, Grasshopper

Diablo 3 Monk Buffs or Stand And Fight, Grasshopper

May 30, 2012

Today’s patch brought a couple of monk buffs, which essentially lagged behind community thinking. And community thinking lagged behind design intent. And design intent itself is shifting to match community desires. There is no beginning, there is no end, the flows are ceaseless, etc.

In the beginning, people, including myself, played Diablo III a lot like they would an MMO. We are trained, in an MMO, to specialise. Since our primary goal in Diablo is to destroy, we thought like DPSers, stacked our primary stat and went to town. It got us through Normal, at least.

In the higher difficulty levels, it slowly became apparent that we missed the point completely – we are our own version of the MMO trinity. We have to worry about defences (which means tanky stats like mitigation, mobility and avoidance) health recovery (including shielding and healing ourselves in various ways) and, in the end, damage.

The reality of this misapprehension hit the melee classes first, and most heavily. A ranged class (my glass-cannon gold-farmer demon hunter alt says hello) can kite forever and still call that compelling gameplay, since they’re able to do damage on the fly. In the case of the wizard, they were shielded from the pain of adjustment even more, owing to the broken low-hp-pool Energy Shield build. But the first time a melee player hit Hell and tried to dps in a desecration pool that destroyed him nearly instantly, tears and rage ensued. I keep mine in a vial nearby, as a reminder of darker days.

The problem was felt most acutely by monks. Our survivability does not scale as well with vitality as that of barbarians, and stacking vitality is, at first blush, the most obvious way to fix survivability problems.

For a while, the belief reigned that one must kite like a ranged class, only ducking into melee range to build up some spirit during Serenity immunity. This was, rightly, decried as untenable and stupid. But, eventually, the monks adapted and overcame. They reluctantly tore their eyes away from raw dps and started doing some effective health calculations that were very familiar to anyone who has been tanking in MMOs. Many began unashamedly equipping shields in lieu of the second claw.

The tools to stand and tank (within reason) were there all along. We just did not see them, because of our MMO damage-class mindset. As monks, we are given a 30% damage reduction compared to the ranged classes. Almost all our damage moves, spirit generators and spenders, have some kind of damage reduction (direct or in the form of stuns) tacked on if we choose to rune for it. That stuff adds up. We have plenty of self-healing that synergises with lower hp and high mitigation. We have the option of flicking on a dodge mantra before purely physical challenges. We have the powerful, transformative passive One With Everything, which allows us to extend our highest resistance value to all damage types, for a cheap alternative to resist-all gear.

Sure, we sacrifice some raw damage for all this, but a dead monk lands no blows. And it is better to be able to stand and pummel a monster for 2.5k damage semi-constantly than 3.5k for less than a quarter of the time while in the bubble. It just took us a long time to realise this, because of the MMO poison in our heads. Credit for collating and publicising a lot of this info goes to Kj991 of the monk forums, who was nowhere near the first to come up with the idea of stacking resists and life-on-hit and tanking properly, but perhaps the first to advocate it in a coherent way to the community.

Speaking of life-on-hit, getting a lot of this, preferably with some attack speed bonuses, is indeed a great, perhaps best, way to boost a monk’s survivability in a stand-up fight with higher-difficulty monsters. And in today’s patch, Blizzard give us a hint-by-four in that direction with the new Boon of Inspiration rune for Mantra of Healing, which is nothing else than a poor man’s extra life-on-hit, scaling by level to around 180ish at 60.

There is a lesson in this, somewhere. Monk survival comes about in a more arcane and roundabout way than that of other classes. Should Blizzard have been more explicit, earlier, in underscoring the stats we really need, like life-on-hit and resists? Then again, around 2% of all players have unlocked Inferno at all. At that kind of rarified percentile, should they not be expected to think outside the box and do their own theorycrafting? And, as an aside, could these 2% really be responsible for all the QQ on the forums? Talk about overrepresentation.

At any rate, I am enjoying my monk, mid-Hell, having spent barely 100k on auction house gear to retool for more defensive stats. I do not spend most of my time kiting, and in fact, I’ve got Cyclone Strike on my bar right now to yank stray mobs toward me and away from my witch doctor partner. I can survive standing still in a lot of bad or an arcane lance up the behind, though of course I try not to acquire bad habits. And, if Blizzard are to be believed, the future may be brighter… or they simply know their audience too well:

“That said, we’d like to shift some of the focus away from survival and more toward using a variety of offensive tactics to succeed. Survival will still be important, but finding ways to maximize your damage while staying alive is more exciting.”




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