We see meta discussions everywhere, so I thought let's go into more detail about this one class. Every class has a potential to be in the meta as support, but in very different roles. The monk has always provided a good mix of everything: healing, damage buff, monster debuff, pulling, and that kind of stuff. In Season 5 the monk ended up being the #1 support class because it was just perfect at all of this, plus his very static defense playstyle (especially due to Inner Sanctuary and a strong PBAoE pull) was a perfect fit for the Twister meta. In addition to that, it has a high proc efficiency with FoF+Solanium for globes.
That globe meta is over, so what's the monk's playstyle going to be like? Everyone's focusing on damage and toughness buffs but seems to forget that the globes also provided near unlimited healing for the group, resulting in recovery values in the billions. So I'm gonna focus on the healing first. What heals can the monk offer? (Abbreviations: LPS = life per second, LoH = life on hit, HGB = health globe bonus)
Mantra of Healing (on activation): a 60k shield, increased by 15% HGB.
Mantra of Healing (passive): 11k LPS, increased by 7% LPS.
Mantra of Healing (Sustenance): doubles the LPS to about 21k, still 7% increase by LPS.
Mantra of Healing (Boon of Inspiration): 3.5k LoH, increased by 20% of the monk's LoH.
Epiphany - Soothing Mist: 40k LPS, increased by 10% HGB.
Breath of Heaven (unruned): approx. 80k heal, increased by 30% HGB.
Breath of Heaven - Circle of Life: approx. 160k heal, increased by 30% HGB.
Serenity - Tranquility: 120k shield on all allies, increased by 40% HGB (damage transferred to you).
Inner Sanctuary - Intervene: 108k shield, increased by 28% HGB.
Mystic Ally- Enduring Ally: 10.7k LPS (only for you), increased by 7% LPS. Only mentioning this for math later.
So... we have three healing stats that we need to look at - LPS, LoH, and HGB. The max values for all those are (according to latest D3MaxStats.com):
Health globe bonus: 270k (incl. ancients, 208k non-ancient). That's assuming we wear a shield, otherwise it'd be 40k less. Slots are shoulders, chest, amulet, rings, boots, and shield. Difficult to get max though, as for example you'll usually re-roll a main stat on Obsidian Ring and amulet, so let's continue the calculation with a realistic 200k here that we could get in the first week. => Realistic HGB: 200k.
Life per second: 100k (80k non-ancient). That's assuming to have it on every single slot though, including a specific weapon (Horadric Hamburger), both of which is a bit unrealistic (again, Obsidian Ring makes this impossible). Let's say we skip LPS on jewelry and off-hand, which brings this to around 60k. However, we can add 10k from paragon and Molten Wildebeest (say 80k from a rank 70 gem). That yields a total of 160k. As you can see, paragon and legendary gem almost dwarf the benefit from LPS on gear! => Realistic LPS: 160k.
Life on hit: 130k (100k non-ancient), assuming dual-wield. Again, we remove Obsidian Ring (-12k), but it comes as default roll on RoRG, and rolls double on weapon+amulet which is why we should really get it there. Add 8k from paragon and 25k from weapon for a total of 150k. Since we wanted a realistic and not "unrealistic BiS math" here, let's assume 120k. => Realistic LoH: 120k.
Now that we know the basics, let's go back to the list of spells above and calculate their group healing effect. I'll assume approx. 80%-75% effective CDR as that's what it looked like when playing monk in S5 and there's no reason to change that much about basic gearing. That means Epiphany has a 100% uptime and Inner Sanctuary has a good overlap (one cast every 5 seconds). For Breath of Heaven, I'll include Eye of Peshkov and assume we can cast it every 2 seconds (which is not too unrealistic). Serenity can be pressed every 7 seconds at 75% CDR. For attack speed I'll assume an average of 4 APS (realistic with some APS on gear, Istvan's set or two daggers, and Flying Dragon in cube). And I assume we have enough spirit/APS to cast Mantra twice a second when needed. (NOTE: The following is very much napkin math as for many things we're making a lot of assumptions, so there's really no reason to count decimals or whatever - it's just about getting a rough comparison of the overall effectiveness.) All final values in bold are what the group should get as "recovery".
Mantra of Healing (base activation): ( 60k + 200k HGB*15% ) * 2 casts per second = approx. 180k
Now, I didn't include the Enduring Ally in here. Why? Well, let's assume we don't wear Crudest Boots but Inna's, then Enduring Ally gives us about 21k more LPS. All formulas take 7% of that into account, which adds a whopping 1500 LPS to any of the aforementioned benefits. If we equip Crudest Boots (which means Illusory Boots will have to be cubed, locking that slot) this makes it 3000 LPS. None of this comes close to what we were to get of any of the other potential skills that could take up the Mystic Ally skill slot, not to mention the absolute waste of the precious armor cube slot. So we can draw some conclusions:
Unless there's some crass oversight, Mystic Ally/Crudest Boots will not be part of the monk's foreseeable future.
Serenity-Tranquility by itself cannot compete with other healing effects and would probably need astronomical max CDR setups (and other reasons, such as monk survivability issues) to be taken into account. Even then, uptime wouldn't be great.
Although in general the LPS nerf hit the monk hard, Safe Haven is still better than Intervene by a margin (note that both require close proximity of the monk). However, the heal isn't that extraordinary that it justifies giving up 30% damage from Forbidden Palace, in my opinion.
Soothing Mist (which was what some monks even used in S5) is the third best healing spell and should be used if Desert Shroud isn't desperately needed. There is a catch though: Insight (25 spirit more per second) will essentially provide one mantra per second more which is even more effective healing, however, if you're already smashing the mantra button like crazy and spirit is always full, Soothing Mist is a good choice. (Keep Aquila Cuirass in mind!)
Breath of Heaven, even the base spell, offers an insane healing value, even without the rune. That is important as groups might prefer Zephyr for 30% more movement speed, or possibly even Infused with Light (more spirit = ensuring Aquila Cuirass uptime and more mantra spam). I'd say given the grand scheme of things not too many groups will go for Circle of Life and run Zephyr for speed and IwL when pushing. BoH has not one, but two issues. First, it essentially locks the helmet slot (Eye of Peshkov), which is not too much of an issue, but it makes wearing Leoric's Crown impossible (unless we want to sacrifice the precious cube slot). Second, you need to be insanely close as its radius is only 12 yards. It essentially works if the meta looks similar to S5 (mobs are pulled into one spot and the DPS stands in the Inner Sanctuary circle next to the monk). BoH will be useless if the meta looks more like in the first seasons, where DPS stand quite far away from the action.
As for mantras, Sustenance is out, as expected after the 2.4 nerf. To be honest, I'm not quite sure about all the details of LoH procs in S6 as it changed so much over the past few PTRs and it hasn't really been used a lot in end-game meta for some time. But unless my math failed in an epic way, Boon of Inspiration looks like the winner in this S6 healing contest. However, I don't think it is the winner. Everything is overshadowed by the base mantra spam, which you should get regardless of which mantra/spell you choose thanks to 4 piece Inna's. So it might be interesting to look at Time of Need for some great damage reduction. If we consider overall healing to be 180k (mantra activation) + 25k (mantra passive w/o LPS on gear) + 60k (Soothing Mist) + 70k (BoH) that's a total of 335k healing/shield per second, and Boon of Inspiration would only add about 30% to that. However, it would require LoH on basically every gear slot, max APS, and probably come with further implications to what generators we should use. Time of Need might offset that healing with an equivalent amount of damage reduction.
Sooo... a lot of text, congrats if you made it to here. I'll conclude this with a potential D3Planner setup (I chose all non-ancient items to not have a super unrealistic BiS geared character):
So... any opinions? What do you think? Also, if anyone has news if this has already been discussed elsewhere or even tested on PTR, and/or other classes might be able to provide healing (Crusader? Consecration+x?), or you know why healing is not going to be an issue or even a topic among support characters, share your insights.
Thanks for investing the time for a great summary.
I think healing will always be an issue unless some other mechanic (cc, globes, etc) changes again.
As the number one dps builds seems to be firebirds archon this will cause grift fights to be melee centered. When the meta was 2xWiz or Wiz/DH those classes needed to stay back as far as possible (passives for extra melee damage were changed after that I think) and let the tanks actually be tanks.
Now everyone is just clumped together in the middle of mobs.
If ranged builds become more important (cluster bombs maybe?) again monks could focus on toughness let the dps classes be class cannons again. This doesnt seem to be the case judging from the PTR so your approach seems really good.
Well, Bagstone, you've drawn me out of the shadows =) I go by Vox on bnet but haven't posted on dfans, though I have been lurking for years.
Thanks for running these numbers. A few things:
Soothing Mist is per activation (including mantra, BoH, etc) and has an ICD consistent with 1/APS (or 5 activations a second at 5 APS). It can heal 5 x 65k per second, or 325k per sec.
Boon bestows LOH and only scales with beneficiary APS, and their devotion to LOH-triggering attack turns. It does not (to my knowledge) interact with the monk's APS.
Range matters a lot (you acknowledge this)
Healing Mantra shields and bestowed LPS and LPH have enormous range.
Soothing Mist is medium range (use in A3 town and watch how far out the heal animation triggers on the NPCs. Can also test its ICD this way.)
Irregular/infrequent healing (seren, Intervene, BoH) is problematic bc it doesn't do much against spike dmg. Constant (2x per second or more) healing is much more effective in practice.
I've run a non-meta no-gen healer with 250k HGB for most of 2.4. My choice has been MOH Boon and Soothing. It's enough healing to do great things, and should be ok for this purpose in 2.4.1. The only problem is that healing might not be needed with barbs still bleeding globes everywhere.
One extra thing to keep in mind in healing discussions is the effect of mitigation on effective healing. If a monk is healing for 400k per second, Mantra of Evasion Agility/Hard target may actually provide more effective healing than Mantra of Healing. A doubling of mitigation provides not just the equivalent of 400k healing (in this scenario), but it also greatly increases a players total EHP, their own healing, and also the period of time over which a dying player may continue to recieve heals. Mitigation is extremely powerful and MOE (and Concussion, Resolve, Crippling Light, APD triggers) should be part of healing discussions/calculations.
Thanks for all your clarifications - I did not know many of those things (like the fact that Boon relies on beneficiaries' APS). In case APS might not be as significant as in S5, it might slightly lower the usefulness of Boon. Nevertheless, based on your conclusions Boon+Soothing Mist might indeed be the most useful healing sources.
That being said, I personally believe that if range becomes an issue in S6 (i.e., the DPS doesn't stand in the Inner Sanctuary circle) the monk won't make it into the meta. The barbs seem to be back to WW which kind of replaces CS, and as you said yourself the barb still seems to provide enough healing (although I don't get *why*, haven't all the health globe sources been nerfed? Not that I can't play PTR, so I couldn't test it myself yet). So if the group isn't entirely grouped up on one spot similar to S5 setups, monk will probably be out and it'll be WD/DH/barb over monk for support. The "healing" aspect was just a last and (what I hoped to be) unique straw, and it just doesn't seem to hold up.
We'll see how it goes in the end.
As for mitigation - absolutely. I actually thought I included that somewhere, but I guess I removed it from my post because I felt it was already too long (as can be seen, almost no one read it). Again, if healing isn't needed Agility definitely looks like a better choice, but I'm even questioning if the monk has a post in this case at all.
I highly doubt we will see anything but soothing mist from the monk for healing. 20% all res + 35% dodge is probably going to just be better. Seeing as every support and even the wiz is running Gogok we can get another 22.5% dodge from there and have basline over 50% dodge that + soothing mist will probably be more than enough.
Sure you can't actually dodge every kind of damage but its something like 90% of the dmg out there is dodgable.
Forbidding Palace will never be dropped. Getting Breath of Heaven really can't fit you won't drop generator, you won't drop cyclone, you won't drop inner sanc or epip, you won't drop mantra(which one is technically best who knows atm), and blinding flash is too strong as well esp now that mob placement matters about .000001% as much since firebird archon is just massive aoe.
Yeah, the CC immunity is a thing. The other thing that both classes offer is the pull; CS vs. WW/Wrenching Smash. Also, let's discount all the other things that both classes can do (buff by Oculus, Strongarm, Poison gem, and so on), and if you then say that Forbidden Sanctuary is no longer used, that significantly decreases the benefit of the monk, doesn't it?
The barb still has 25% DR from IP, 20% armor from War Cry, and another 60% armor or 30% dodge from War Cry. In addition to that, you've got the movement speed from Chilanik's and 25% damage from Falter.
The monk offers the mantra bonuses (40% all resist, 20% damage - I think the small 20k LPS is negligible in high GRs), which is probably a bit worse than IP+Falter. On the other hand, Crippling Light should be much better than the 20% armor from War Cry, so let's say we're even on that with potentially a small advantage for monk. Furthermore, let's assume Agility offsets the War Cry dodge (yes I know, it's 30% vs 35%). So this far, I'd say the monk is slightly ahead.
However, what you'll be left with then is a very static setup (you gotta stand in the IS circle to get the 55% DR benefit and CC immunity) vs the highly mobile barb (Chilanik's Chain buff, no super close range on spells, and the ability to drag elites with you). In particular the fact that you always want to drag one burning elite with you - should the FB wizard be in the meta, and it looks very much like it - doesn't paint too good of a picture for the monk.
I think it might be similar to season 1: Barb might be the "better" choice for groups that are highly mobile, communicative, and have insanely good coordination - and have an incredibly skilled barb. In that case, the top groups might resort to that choice due to mobility trumping the slightly higher survivability (and about the same in terms of raw damage buffs). However, casuals and most farming groups, especially random PUGs, might fare better with a monk which should be more straightforward: HERE is the IS circle. Stand in it. Kill stuff.
Be careful when assigning value to DR in the form of "deals X% less dmg" debuffs. They work on physical monster attacks but not on ranged dmg from unaffected monsters, and (I think) not on certain elite affixes. I recently tested on Azmodan's summoned fireballs and Toxin, Concussion, Blind had no effect. (Poor example, but it's all I got atm).
Dodge can also be overvalued if players start running into 2-3 shot combat. Dodge does almost nothing vs spike dmg. Dodge is great if mitigation is already there and near useless if not. It's a 'win more' stat in many scenarios.
Barb provides more effective defense in light of these considerations, esp during critical transit operations where almost all monk defense offline, and barbs are providing cc and movespeed as well as full defense.