Monday, June 11, 2012

Monk in your Trunk

Since wow seems to be on hiatus for the time being, I thought I'd write out some of my thoughts on D3.  Why not, seeing as to how D3 makes me nerd rage just as much as wow did.

I signed up to play a monk with the expectation that it would play much like a rogue.  I imagined a hard-hitting, fast-moving DPS machine, relying on high burst damaged and mobility to weave and bob my way through enemies and landing big combos.

Instead, as I progress further into inferno mode, I find myself more or less a tank-type character.  I stack defensive stats and abilities and I sit there spanking a mob to death.  Ever so slowly.

Compared to ranged classes such as a wizard or those completely imba demon hunters, my DPS is pathetic.  On average I'm doing only about 30-40% of what my ranged counterparts are doing in terms of pure raw damage.  My HP and defensive stats vastly dwarf theirs though, and I can take quite a few more hits and stand in a lot more ground effects than they can.

The problem is, though, that this still doesn't create a fair play situation.  Think about it: you run into a swarm of champion enemies who hit like trucks and put down fire patches everywhere.  A monk has to be able to take those mack truck hits and occasionally step through fire patches just to be able to hit the mob.  A ranged character, however, drops dead as soon as they take a hit or stand in fire.  But this is a non-issue as ranged characters never need to put themselves in that situation.  As long as they keep their distance, which they do, they can just keep running and shooting, running and shooting, kiting their way merrily until the mob is dead.  And mobs die much much quicker when they can rock 40-50k DPS too.

So there I am, cycling through my cooldowns and heals, stepping gingerly around fire whenever I can, getting smacked around by 4 elites while trying to regen enough spirit just to spam my heals, while a DH or wizard runs around in a circle, never taking a hit, and killing the mob in a fraction of the time it takes me.

Of course kiting isn't an easy task and it takes a lot of coordination to be able to do this.  And there are some situations where kiting isn't effective at all (jailer mobs, frozen, narrow corridors).  But overall ranged have a huge advantage in that they never really have to worry about their defensive stats.  They are literally glass cannons that dish out huge damage but can never afford to be touched by a mob.  Monks and our poor sad cousins, the barbarians, have to beef up our health and resistance and armor, often at the sacrifice of our DPS which explains why it's so pitifully low.

Another very unfair advantage of wizards and DHs is their passive resource regen (not sure about witch doctors, never played one).  Wizards regen mana fairly quickly, and DHs can regen their hatred simply by shooting arrows, regardless of whether it hits a target or not.  Monks on the other hand, must have an active target in order to regen our spirit.  Which means that if you're on the run from an elite pack and you have no spirit left, you must somehow be able to get near them and hit them to be able to use your abilities.  In some situations this is just a no-go.  If I can't get near a mob I can't use my mitigation abilities, and I can't use my mitigation abilities unless I can get near a mob.  I think this is definitely an issue that needs to be addressed.

Not to say that playing a monk isn't fun - it is.  It's just not what I expected, and perhaps my expectations were flawed.  I do enjoy my monk, and now that my gear is up to snuff Act 1 inferno is a breeze.  I can farm the Butcher and punch my way through any combinations of champion packs (yes, even the ones with multiple ground effects + fire chain).

The other night during a 3 person co-op game I was able to solo the Butcher down from about 25% HP remaining - AFTER the fire enrage.  After all my party members dropped from the fire, I sat their dodging his hits, rotating my CDs, and slowly whittling down his HP.  Did the fire hurt?  Yes.  Was I standing in it the whole time?  Yes.  Did my HP ever drop below 50%?  No.  Is this how I imagined playing a monk?  No, but was it freaking awesome how I soloed the Butcher after a hard enrage?  Yes.

Act 2 inferno, however, is a different story...that might have to wait until the nerf.

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