Patch 1.0.4 Class Preview: Monk
Blizzard has just posted the third class preview for patch 1.0.4. You can check the Barbarian's preview here and the Wizard's preview here. The remaining two class previews should be out later today, so keep checking back!
The most important changes for the monk in 1.0.4 are aimed at improving damage-focused Spirit Spenders. We're happy with where Spirit Generators are right now, but unfortunately once you have Spirit, there aren’t very many appealing ways to use it. In many cases, the most effective use of Spirit has been to recast a Mantra repeatedly for the three-second bonus. While this is certainly one possibility, it doesn't seem as exciting as using one of the more offensively-focused Spirit Spenders (or at least having that option available).
Spirit Spenders Exploding Palm:
From a strict usability standpoint, we think the visuals for Exploding Palm can be a little difficult to interpret. It's hard to tell who's affected by the Bleed and who's being damaged by the resulting explosion. Our Visual Effects team has made some improvements in 1.0.4 which will make it easier for players to tell who's bleeding and who's getting damaged.
From a mechanics standpoint, the three-second Bleed can make the explosion hard to pull off, and the damage just doesn't seem enough to be worth the Spirit cost. To help with both of these issues, we’re increasing the duration of the Bleed to nine seconds as well as its damage per second, which should make it more likely that monsters you’ve touched with Exploding Palm will go boomwhen they die.
Current: 220% weapon damage over 3 seconds 1.0.4: 745% weapon damage over 9 seconds
(Don't worry, Impending Doom is also having its duration increased to 15 seconds.)
The original intent for Seven-Sided Strike was for it to be a solid damage dealer that you could use for a quick burst. Where Serenity granted you an amazing period of invulnerability, and your other combat skills could put out some damage, Seven-Sided Strike would ideally exist somewhere in the middle by offering some invulnerability and some damage. Unfortunately, the way it currently plays out, Seven-Sided Strike feels more like a bad version of Serenity, and the damage just doesn’t seem worth it. To address this, we’ll be doing a straight damage increase to Seven-Sided Strike to make it an attractive option for those who are looking for a skill that really packs a punch.
The damage buff to Seven Sided Strike is significant. And although players rarely complain when a skill gets buffed, it does leave one wondering why a lower damage existed in the first place.
The answer is: our initial design was flawed in several ways. To get the skill where it needed to be, we identified three distinct problems that were plaguing not only Seven-Sided Strike, but other class skills as well, and each problem merited a damage increase.
First, we're upping the damage of many skills with longer cooldowns in 1.0.4. Across all classes, if I can only hit a button once every so often, it needs to dole out some significant damage to justify the spot on my bar. While some skills, like Archon and Wrath of the Berserker, are significant enough to make the cut, there are a lot of skills that need DPS improvements to make their cooldowns worthwhile. Indeed, many monks use Seven-Sided Strike for the brief invulnerability, not the damage.
Second, we're also upping the damage on skills that spend Spirit. As mentioned in the introduction, Spirit Spenders are getting buffed because the Spirit cost needs to be weighed against the benefit of using that Spirit on something else -- such as refreshing your Mantra.
Third, we're taking a hard look at distinctive, class-defining skills that create better tension on your skill bar. We'd like to promote skills that help to fulfill the fantasy of a class; skills that make you feel happy that you chose the class you did. Since the fantasy of a monk involves being fast, agile, and hard to hit, Seven-Sided Strike seemed like a natural candidate.
We looked at making these improvements across all skills and all classes, and Seven-Sided Strike benefitted all three times. As a result, the 1.0.4 version of the skill is incredibly potent (we'll save the details for the patch notes).
Wave of Light:
Wave of Light is the kind of skill that just needs to do way more damage. It has a big Spirit cost, but it doesn’t seem to pay off based on the amount of Spirit invested into it. In general, we’d like Lashing Tail Kick to be a skill that’s good against a small number of targets and feels relatively "spammable," and for Wave of Light to be a skill that’s more of an investment -- something that you don’t use as frequently, but pays out with bigger damage numbers when you actually do hit the button.
Current: 215% weapon damage as Holy + 45% damage as AoE 1.0.4: 390% weapon damage as Holy + 45% damage as AoE
This is just for the base skill. Wall of Light, Explosive Light, and Pillar of the Ancients damage has also been buffed up by a fair amount.
In terms of passives, it's pretty clear at this point that One With Everything is considered a mandatory passive for all monks. While "mandatory" passives aren't great, making any major change would do more harm than good, particularly when a) incoming damage is so high and monks need the extra durability in order to survive. Additionally, as a result of this passive, monks are more heavily tied to their current gear, so making changes to One With Everything would have very noticeable negative repercussions to the gear monks have invested in.
While we'd prefer that there wasn't an "absolutely mandatory" passive, we're going to let this one ride for now. If we do try to make changes we'll ideally do it in a way that doesn't invalidate the passive, doesn't hurt monk survivability, and doesn't undermine the gear people are currently wearing.
Last but not least, we added the ability for monks to wield two-handed weapons in 1.0.3, along with supporting animations. This has allowed some monks who enjoy two-handers to play this way, but it's not always effective. In the Systems Preview, we mentioned that two-handed melee weapons are getting a buff, and that will help. As additional support, the Spirit generation bonus granted by The Guardian's Path is going to be increased from 25% to 35%.
Be sure to check out our other class previews for patch 1.0.4:
So they have a third of the page talking about SSS and then don't freaking tell us what it does lol?
sad blizzard... very sad.
But I bet you're dying to find out...Blizzard wins.
Actually the opposite I haven't played a single game or even opened up D3 in over 1.5 months now... I still keep my self updated on what these new patches bring.
Having a preview about class changes and have 1/3 the page just saying pretty much "it's changing in a big way.... see patch notes when we decide to put them up"... Is really REALLY sad.
Monk Passive - All that was said is OWE is pretty much a needed passive and that's it besides 10% increase to some rando stupid passive no one will ever use...
We also only got 2 skills with dmg increases compared to over 6 with the barb(not counting SSS cause no %dmg number was given)... Even though it is a preview this one is crap even compared to the Wizard one lol...
The significant change of the exploding palm is not only its damage, but its duration. 9 second for exploding palm is a very big buff...if you have the experience with the skill, you would know what I mean.
My only lvl60 chars are Monk and WD which are the classes that need buffing the most compared to the others I think. After seeing the buffs made to the already powerful barb and wizard I had high hopes for monk and still have for WD even though I was completely NOT blown away by the monk preview. What a frickin' joke! I know today's preview is not showing all changes made, but I'm guessing they preview the big changes which, in this case, was not very big at all.
As for OWE. Since everyone is using it why not make it inherent to the monk to start with and make us get to choose 3 different ones instead?
Quite underwhelming preview compared to barb&wiz.
Also, that "buff" to exploding palm makes me lol compared to rend.
Current: 220% weapon damage over 3 seconds | ~73/s 1.0.4: 745% weapon damage over 9 seconds | ~83/s
Rend: Weapon damage increased from 210% over 3 seconds to 700% over 5 seconds | 70/s -> 140/s
The point of Exploding Palm is not the bleed, but the explosion. The bleed is a bonus. The extra duration will make it easier to actually trigger that explosion as well as possition the monster for maximum damage.
I'm not excited the least about these buffs. Was really hoping for some rune changes to various skills. I was really looking forward to read these notes, after reading the barbs. Big disappointment. :/
Oh man, you guys are hard to please. These are previews, and I'm sure could even be called teasers. We aren't learning a lot, sure, but you have to think that 1.0.4 is coming with a lot of changes and these developers are focusing on development. Plus why would they go through the effort of putting out a really indepth article when you sharks are just going to eat them alive anyways?
I've never seen a more depressed and angry community then the Diablo 3 community. And it sucks because while Diablo 3 may not be where it needs to be, it's slowly getting there.
They don't understand that we have only 1 slot for a spirit spender DPS ability. We are not going to drop using 3 defensive skills, and nobody will want to skip Mantra. Serenity is just too good on its own - it provides a much needed DPS window vs certain packs; Breath of Heaven provides a passive 15% damage buff via rune; and Faith in the Light buff scaling with AS ends up being ridiculous burst. That's on top of the fact that you sort of need to use all 3 of them to survive unless your gear is amazing and you kill things before it matters. All of them provide amazing offenses, better than most of our spirit spender abilities, THAT is the issue.
Wave of Light is still gonna be crap because 75 spirit is just too much. Even if it's going to hit like a truck, it just takes too long to get 75 spirit for the ability to be fun, even if it works out to be a DPS increase in numbers. A simple damage increase to SSS isn't going to be sufficient. Nobody in their right mind will enjoy having a 30 seconds cooldown in the only slot we can put a random ability into. We simply don't have a bar slot for a "pop every once in a while for fun" ability.
Exploding Palm numbers must be a joke. It went from dealing 73% weapon damage per second to 83%. Well thanks. Sure, the skill is about the corpse explosion yada yada, but that doesn't help much at all versus elites - the hard part is when they're all alive. If you ever used EP you'd try to time it close to the mobs death to actually get the explosion off, otherwise you just spam Overawe because that's just better. That won't change with these numbers.