This is a mirror of my guide on the European official forums but adapted and improved for this forum engine. I got very good feedback on it there, however I feel like I can reach a much bigger audience by posting it here. For now, I'll just synchronize it on both sources.
I'm trying to keep the guide itself short and to the point. This is mostly opinion based on my experiences rather than a collection of knowledge; however, if you doubt any claims regarding numbers, formulas or mechanics, check the appendix - I link all sources.
Anyhow, Paragon levels sparkled my interest to Diablo 3 again, which means I'll be playing which means I'll be expanding this guide rather than just updating it. My thoughts so far:
I'm most likely going to be rewriting the guide from scratch because the whole point of the game is changing with this patch. What's going to matter now is speed of clearing. Having read the entire patch note, I'm pretty sure that progressing through Inferno is no longer going to be an issue pretty much regardless of which exact build you're using, as long as it makes sense and you have the appropriate gear. Hence there's no point in "forcing" a certain build anymore like in this guide.
Instead I'm going to write about which abilities are the most efficient and where, certain obvious or not very obvious combinations that just work well, add a bit more theory and numbers (f.ex. Sweeping Wind mechanics).
Gear section will probably become the main focus of the guide as well, seeing as legendaries actually have a weight now and will be sought after. It'll still be just a listing of stuff with a few comments, but I'll put more effort here as there's actually a reason to min/max now.
However, I'm not going to play the game (at least not a lot) until 28th August, so this will be slightly delayed.
IAS nerf is huge, but it's still a good stat to have. They halved it, not nerfed it to the ground;
Sweeping Wind/Cyclone and stacking crit is the way to go. Cyclone is ridiculously good;
Ironically, 1h/Shield remains the best way to play. This is because shields can have up to 10% crit;
Every primary other than Fists of Thunder feels incredibly slow, Deadly Reach feels good only with >2.0 APS;
Removed Crippling Wave suggestion completely, can't generate enough spirit to make use of Transcendence;
Defense stat wise everything is the same as before. You just don't need them as much now and should get damage.
Skill build and gameplay
These are the set in stone skills. Empty slots will vary depending on your gear, act, how well you are geared for that act, and personal preference. I will talk about all viable and/or common options as well as link full builds in the end of this section.
Fists of Thunder/Thunderclap: the go-to choice. This is what you want to run as long as you don't need extra defensive benefits of the other options. Highest spirit regeneration, highest LoH modifiers (due to Thunderclap proccing LoH separately from main attack), teleport to boost your damage uptime immensely, and the best DPS strike due to being innately hasted. This is especially important post IAS nerf, and the only attack that won't bore you to death with its slow animation.
Deadly Reach/Keen Eye: this is the skill that defines our defensive playstyle. You don't become a ranged class with it, but it allows you to not let yourself get hit by multiple mobs at the same time, not get yourself surrounded, have a much easier time avoiding ground AoE and trivialize fire chain packs. You simply move back all the time while attacking, getting mobs stuck in terrain where you can, or attacking through walls where possible. The downside is that it's very slow, you end up losing a lot of damage and potentially a lot of sustainability too if you rely on LoH, spirit regen will feel slow if you're used to FoT. If you can't get above 2.0 attack speed post patch, I wouldn't recommend going this path anymore.
Sweeping Wind/Cyclone: with high enough crit (read: 20% or above) this ability becomes ridiculously good. You get so many cyclones with the right stats, and they usually strike several times before they disappear, more if they get stuck in walls or obstacles. The cyclones are so good I would recommend this even if you use Deadly Reach and rarely have mobs in range of Sweeping Wind itself.
Sweeping Wind/Blade Storm: scales incredibly well, best damage ability for this slot if you don't have high enough crit.
Sweeping Wind/Fire Storm: if you play with DR/Keen Eye and don't have enough crit for Cyclone, this is your choice. You need the extra range because DR itself is ranged.
Dashing Strike/Blinding Speed or Quicksilver: this gives the one thing that you lack with DR as primary and that's a dash, a controllable one too. 25 spirit is really nothing, this gives quite a lot of control. Obviously the most defensive choice of all.
Deadly Reach/Foresight: the buff from Foresight lasts 30 seconds, so this is a "passive" 18% damage. Although Blade Storm outdamages this, it is very handy to have a ranged strike for packs that are hard to deal with in melee - having both FoT and DR binded lets you switch between the two playstyles depending on affixes. There's no UI buff for it, just a green glow around your character and it affects the DPS tooltip, so you'll have to look at one of these things to keep it up.
Mantra of Evasion/Hard Target: always run this on acts you are progressing through. Dodge stacks multiplicatively, so don't worry, it is working correctly and there's no diminishing returns.
Mantra of Conviction/Overawe: if you can survive without MoE, switch to this. This is the first thing you want to switch when you feel like your gear is good enough for the act you are farming. The damage gain is just monstrous.
Mantra of Evasion/Backlash: if you feel confident in the act you're farming but still get gibbed when you try Overawe, give this a try. The damage from Backlash is very noticeable, it's a nice balance of damage and survivability.
Mantra of Conviction/Submission: only reason I'm mentioning it is because for some odd reason, this skill scales very bad with attack speed (different to how Wind works), not that it was anything impressive in the first place. After the IAS nerf there's even less reason to try it. See appendix for more info.
Peaceful Repose rune for Serenity might be a better choice than Ascension if you're just starting inferno and have no sustain stats. I can't see this being true past Act 1 however.
If you don't stack resistances correctly and they're all roughly equal without OWE, don't use OWE. Use Transcendence until you get proper resistance gear. Again, you want to get at least a bit resistance gear before you go Act 2.
Faith in the Light increases damage by more than 30%, for some reason it scales with attacks per second. So, if you have 2 attacks per second, it's actually a 60% damage bonus. This is not just a tooltip bug, but confirmed in ingame tests. See appendix.
These are just to give you examples of how it all comes together.
The most common mistake is not investing enough into damage. Damage is everything. Always.
Crit can be found on:
Shields, up to 10%;
Gloves, up to 10%;
Amulets, up to 8.5%;
Bracers, up to 6%;
Helms, up to 6%;
Rings, up to 4.5%.
Crit damage can be found on:
Weapons, up to 100%, Emeralds socketed into weapons can give up to another 100%;
Amulets, up to 65%;
Gloves, up to 50%;
Rings, up to 34%.
IAS can be found on:
Weapons, up to 11%;
Amulets, up to 9%;
Gloves, up to 9%;
Rings, up to 9%.
Since this question will arise for sure, I'll just say right away that crit > critdmg. Obviously the value of critdmg completely relies on the amount of crit you have, but there's another factor here and that's Cyclone procs. Crit chance will improve proc rate, crit damage will not, and Cyclone is a huge contributor to our damage now. Regardless of what spreadsheets will tell you, keep this in mind.
Rings are the last slots you should upgrade from IAS to crit/critdmg items, or not even upgrade them at all depending on your current rings and budget. They can carry much less crit than other slots, but the same standard amount of IAS. Also, items can potentially have all three of these stats. Just something to look forward to.
The best approach to defensive stats in this and nearly all similar games is balancing them out. Never tunnel one stat. It's not good to have very low hp but very high mitigation, just as it is not useful to have very high hp but very low mitigation. It's useless to have lots of LoH, but health pool so low that you're going to die every time you stop hitting. Also, you stop all damage when you kill things - don't focus too much on defense. You need just enough, not too much.
To answer two of the most common questions:
OWE works like this: if arcane resistance is your highest stat, and you get an item with +50 all resistances and +50 arcane resistances, the total gain from that item will be 100 resistances;
LoH procs from all direct damage. Damage auras and DoTs don't proc it, but all our AoE cleaves do, per target. If you hit a target with Fists of Thunder, and Thunderclap will hit your main target and another 5 offtargets, it will be: 1 hit from FoT, 1 hit on main target from TC, and another 5 offtarget hits from TC, total 7 LoH procs. However LoH is scaled per ability, check the table linked in appendix for exact values.
Weapon:DPS, Life on Hit, Socket, Crit Damage, Weapon Type, Attack Speed, Dexterity, Life per Spirit Spent, Vitality
Weapon is the only slot that can carry high amounts of LoH. There's really no such thing as "LoH build", there's just "LoH weapon".
Attack speed on weapon is multiplied with total IAS on gear, so there's nothing bad about weapons with IAS contrary to popular belief. There's a difference in base attack speed depending on weapon type: Daggers (1.5) > Swords/Fists (1.4) > Axes (1.3) > Maces and Spears (1.2).
Only Fists and Daibos can have Life per Spirit Spent.
Shield:Block Chance, Block Amount, Crit Chance, +% Block, Dexterity, Resistances, Vitality, Life %, Reduced Damage from Elites/Melee/Ranged
Pay attention to shield stats - block chance and amount - they make a big difference although it might not seem so on paper. Damage is blocked after it is reduced by armor and resistance, think about that. Picking a shield is like picking a weapon - block chance and value are main stats on it, like damage is on weapons.
Amulet:Crit Chance, Crit Damage, Attack Speed, Life on Hit, Dexterity, Resistances, Vitality, Life %, Reduced Damage from Melee/Ranged
Amulets can actually have very considerable amounts of LoH, high end ones are around 600.
Rings:Attack Speed, Crit Chance, Crit Damage, Life on Hit, Dexterity, Resistances, Vitality, Life %
I keep attack speed as highest priority here simply because you can find more of it than crit. Amount of LoH on rings is abysmal.
Helm:Crit Chance, Socket, Dexterity, Resistances, Life per Spirit Spent, Vitality, Life %, Monk Skill Bonus
You want a socket to put an Amethyst there for 15% Life. I think this is pretty important, but completely viable to ignore it if you won't go below 30-35k HP or so.
There are some interesting choices here when it comes to class stats - you can get a 11% damage modifier to any primary skill. Don't overestimate this stat, it won't be better than 100 Dexterity. These and Life per Spirit Spent are available only on Spirit Stones.
Belt: Dexterity, Resistances, Vitality
This would be just a standard armor slot if not for one item - slightly overhyped String of Ears. One of its predefined stats is melee damage reduction, up to 20%. However, it is a level 53 item so its stat rolls will be fairly low, and it has +11-20 resist to all as a set stat meaning it can't even roll for all resist. A good rolled item level 61+ belt will most likely be overall more EHP than String, even against melee (you can check yourself on the EHP calculator).
Bracers:Crit Chance, Dexterity, Resistances, Vitality, Reduced Damage from Melee/Ranged
Boots:Movement Speed, Dexterity, Resistances, Vitality, Life %
Chest: Dexterity, Resistances, Vitality, Life %, Sockets (up to 3), Reduced Damage from Melee/Ranged/Elite
Pants: Dexterity, Resistances, Vitality, Sockets (up to 2)
Shoulders: Dexterity, Resistances, Vitality, Life %
Some notes about this list: order the stats are listed in can be treated as priority lists, but don't follow them to the letter. This game is about balancing stats and choosing what to prioritize depending on your own playstyle and which act you're at. There's no single pattern that will work just as good for every situation, think for yourself.
I skipped sockets on jewelry because if anything, that's a waste of a potentially better stat roll in my opinion.
Adding 'best in slot' legendaries for post-patch is on my to-do list.
I just started inferno on my monk (my 5th lvl 60 charater all except witch doctor). I decided to level characters while I waited for 1.03 instead of breaking my hands punching the wall from act 3 with my wizzard... I have started to enjoy the monk quite a bit, much better than I expected the class to be. This was my first time to look at builds and ideas since I started him. This guide was much better than anything I expected to find, thank you! All the numbers and links to back all this up, great work even better sharing it.
I never felt my passive skills were set that great but I still wasn't having problems so I didn't bother to mess with them much. I experemented with various passives and somehow I have been overlooking Resolve this whole time. I also haven't tried Blinding Flash/Faith in Light. Actually never really tried Bliding Flash at all and it looks quite awesome, can't wait for severs to come up so I can try it out. One With Everything I knew would be great one I started working more on gear, for now it's usless for me, but soon it will be used..
At the moment I am dual weilding and I think I will keep doing that until/if I am force to use a shield. Maybe carry one for the harder fights when I need it. I have two socketed weapons around 600dps both with high dex and life on hit gem in them. My armor is pretty good stat wise, not much resists though, I used most of it on my deamon hunter to get about half way through act 2 inferno before the elite packs started making me want to hit the wall and I moved to a new character.
At any rate I will be trying out several new ideas due to this post. Mantra of Conviction/Overawe if I can get away with it, I have used it before I know I will take more damage but the extra dps might work, very worth trying again.
I am thinking: Standard FoT & DR build or Deadly Reach build with Overawe if I can handle it and Transcendence instead of OwE for now... So much to try out and the servers are down
While the fists of thunder with thunderclap are cool coz they teleport you to the enemy you need to consider that most of the times that enemy will have arcane sentry, molten ground, fire chains near him and thats going to kill you.
Imo thunderclap becomes good when you got enough defense to pretty much trivialize any dmg you'll take from elites.
I like the build, very fast and fun, but I'm having some trouble especially on arcane/poison/desecrator/etc. packs because Thunderclap teleports me right on top of all the bad stuff, how do you get around this?