Bashiok Defends Monk Animations

One of the long-standing problems the community has had with the DiabloWikiMonk is that the vast majority of this character’s skills do not use weapons for their animations – unless they’re DiabloWikifist weapons (at least they’ll be there on release). It’s an understandable complaint, as the monk is the only class that does not utilizing weapons for signature skills, let alone a wide array of other skills he is given.

In some ways it makes sense, though, based on the nature of the hero’s play style. It would certainly look interesting to see a monk giving the ‘ol one-two with swords clenched in his hands. Nevertheless, it is an odd dynamic with the character’s design to forgo animations for arguably the most important gear-slot in the game. By dint of the hero’s design, they simply created skills that deliberately avoided the use of weapons to enhance the flavor of the hero. Bashiok does state, however, that they have added a handful of animations where appropriate and they plan on addressing other monk related issues in subsequent patches. This includes the use of various other weapons and their animations.

From a designer’s standpoint, though, there are simply places that need to be evaluated and cut for the greater good. Whether or not you agree with them is left up to you.

We’re certainly aware of how we’re handling our skill animation sets, as well as your feedback regarding the monk specifically. While working on any piece of the game we have to make production calls on what has the biggest benefit for the time we’re spending on it, because time is quite simply a very precious commodity. We made some choices, some that you may not agree with, to ensure a solid level of animations throughout the game. To make a call on not displaying a weapon during a skill may allow us to animate a multitude of spell casts for a demon, a higher priority animation for another character, or unique animation to ensure an in-game cutscene feels epic. Making the tough calls on when and where the game and players as a whole will benefit most is one of the most difficult things the producers, designers and artists have to do.

It’s worth noting that in addition to making those tough calls we take a logical approach to skill animations, and there are some where we purposely do not show a weapon. This is mostly for summoning or buff abilities where a weapon doesn’t play into the skill, such as mantras, or Inner Sanctuary. There are other skills where we purposely do not show a weapon because the concept of the skill is not connected to a weapon, such as Seven-Sided Strike and Lashing Tail Kick. In addition there are skills that purposely do not show a weapon because the skill is conceptually about the monk using his fists or hands, such as Way of the Hundred Fists or Exploding Palm.

There are skills though that don’t fall into any of those, and just should have been showing weapons. When you gave us that feedback we absolutely heard your requests for additional animations, and we added a full animation suite to the three skills where we felt the impact would be the greatest; Dashing Strike, Crippling Wave, and Deadly Reach. For us that was not only a great use of our resources to get it done, but we thought it was a very visible way to relate to you that we’ve been listening.

So, all of that background and info said, we still have plans to make even more changes and improvements in patches released fairly shortly after release. In a patch we plan to change Exploding Palm, Way of the Hundred Fists, and Fists of Thunder so they don’t hide fist weapons. Since the idea is that these skills are about the monk using their fists, it just makes sense to allow fist weapons to continue to show. In addition, as we continued to refine the monk class and our design philosophies for itemization, our ideas about what weapons make sense for the monk have changed over time. To see that philosophy shift through we’re looking at simply giving monks the ability to wield more types of weapons, complete with full animation support for their skills.

Hopefully that explains some of our intent with skill animations, and not just with the monk, all of the same thought and care (if not more) has gone into crafting the animations for each class and their skills. We’re of course looking forward to getting the game into your hands in a couple weeks, and seeing how everyone enjoys the class they choose, and the skills they wield.

Bashiok added a few follow ups in a second post, in which he explicitly admitted that the lack of Monk weapon animations was more of a bug than a feature, due to changes in the char design that weren’t matched by changes in the graphics. Click through to view those.

Does this mean we’re likely to see the usable weapons for classes increase past release day? Or would all of this be finalized for a day 1 patch? Otherwise I might have to keep a sweet two-handed mace in my stash just in case my wizard can use it someday…
The additional weapon types are specific to monks. The original monk design was very different, and very weapon dependent. As that design changed the number of usable weapons didn’t really keep up to match, and so we’re working to correct that.

That’s not to say it’s impossible for other classes to see additional weapon types, but we have no plans at this time.

Question. You mentioned patches. In these patches do you plan on buffing skills or nerfing skills. Or are all D3 patches mostly for bugs, glitches, animations, or system problems?
Kind of off-topic, but yes, we intend to correct issues and make balance changes through patches. Did anyone think we wouldn’t?

Please tell me you’ve given Monks the ability to use 2 handed maces! PLEASE!
The work isn’t complete so I really can’t comment on which weapon types because I don’t want you coming after me if for whatever reason we can’t deliver … but I think you’ll be happy.

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76 thoughts on “Bashiok Defends Monk Animations

  1. The Monk is a wasted character slot.  While the class will be my first choice, why did it get the green light to begin with???  Animations are a big deal, and I’m sure there are a plethora of great alternatives to the Monk.  The class just seems… silly without animations.

    • Wasted char slot? Are you insane? I for one, am ecstatic about Blizz taking note of this issue. Monk all the way!

    • I wouldn’t say the monk is a wasted character slot… he was my least favorite before beta, but after playing it, he’s not too shabby. Kinda fun.
      I’ve never understood why they’d ditch the amazing weapon art for beefier, yet disjointed, animations. Of course the core of the problem is deriving skill damage from weapon damage, like the Wizard gaining damage from a two-handed sword. Total nonsense.
      Honestly it seems like the monk had an identity crisis midway through development, and this is the crappy result we get i.e. weapon focused class using fists instead of weapons.

      • Well since their is only 2 ways to customize the character (skill choice and random items), and because they wanted skills to have variable damage — its only natural that they link it to items that provide damage. 

    • For once I’m glad people think this way about the monk. It will keep all the WoW mentality baddies from polluting the class while they pick the other boring gimmick classes, with exception of the witch doctor which actually takes almost as much finesse and skill to play as the monk.
      In the hands of someone who knows what they are doing, the monk is the highest sustained DPS class in the game and it can heal itself. Enjoy your health globes.
      Hopefully, Bash’s answer will finally stop all these OCD kids from whining about the animations. Who am I kidding, this will only fuel the fire.

    • This is a good start, but far from good enough.

      In a game like Diablo where gear is everything all melee classes should use their weapons at all times. They need to fix weapon animations for ALL Monk skills, especially the more popular ones like Seven sided strike, Exploding palm and and Way of the hundred fists. I don’t care if it goes against the nature of the skill, rename them if you have to; not using the weapons you’re wielding and spent hours finding feels terrible. It’s slobby design, to say the least.

      • That’s one way of putting it – here’s another.
        The one reason I’ve always loved the Monk concept, is that you have a character who’s unarmed and, in most cases, unarmoured, yet still manages to be as badass as the big stompy warrior in full plate, wielding a big two-hander.
        I can appreciate that Diablo is a game about items, and that people want to see those items on their character, but I would prefer to have a ‘Show weapon’ option for the Monk, as I don’t want to play a Martial Arts master hitting things with a Halberd…

        Sloppy design? More like ‘Impossible to please everyone’   

        • I like the idea of a Monk using his fists/fist weapons as well. The problem is if I find the legendary dagger Phant0m Slizer and I can use it, I actually want to use it, not have it as a trinket hanging by my side. They made a very late decision to add more usable weapon types for  the monk (earlier he could only use fist weapons and sticks). With that decision came the problem. Had they not made the decision and kept the monk as a pure fister, or actually planned out the class and it’s animations from the start, the problem wouldn’t be as great (though he still wouldn’t even have animations for his class specific stick weapon, which is just weird).

          Sloppy design is exactly what it is. I’m not saying the monk can’t be fun to play(!), but as it stands right now, from a class design perspective the monk is a mess and Blizzard knows it.

  2. If I’m honest I don’t know what all the fuss is about, I like the animations and can see good reasoning to why they do not feature in some abilities. What skills are you expecting them to bring weapon animations too?

    • Bashiok, for once, did make some great points. A monk casting a mantra should look like a prayer, and it does, as does blinding flash. Those are great animations.

      But the excitement of getting a badass weapon is really killed when you barely ever see it in combat and that doesn’t play very well. I did notice when they added weapon animations to dashing strike, a skill I previously didn’t like, and I actually began to use it afterwards. If you have two swords, the monk dashes and then slices them away from his body, each sword in an opposing direction, and it looks really cool. And it makes the skill feel good to use. I can understand the time constraints, and I think the best point is finally brought up by Bashiok where a skill should be thematic, but like he also admitted, some skills should work with the equipped weapon.

      I don’t think it should be as high priority as a lot of people think it should be, but I would certainly welcome it. 

  3. \The Monk is a wasted character slot.  While the class will be my first choice…\ lol

    • I had the most fun playing the Barbarian.  I’m staying clear from that character because a ton of people will probably pick it out the gate, while the least picked may be the Monk (and it’s a healing class).  

      • wow, how altruistic of you to take such a useless character just so you can heal people…  Please don’t give us that BS.  If you really felt that the class was garbage you wouldn’t pick it at all.

        • Picking an unpopular character may not be altruistic – it may be a matter of wanting less competition for class-specific gear.

          • Good point.
            Lucky me I’m absolutely in love with the monk from the moment I played it! I was a bard-only player, but the monk kicks so much as it’s unbelievable!

  4. They should just troll the community and say fine, Monk can only use fist weapons and bos now. Problem?

  5. The monk plays really well in the Beta, he is certainly not a waste of a character slot 🙂

  6. I remember a time when Blizzard would release a game when it was actually finished…

    • You are clearly in the super minority if you wanted the game delayed further while they completed monk weapon animations, or whatever you personally feel is “finished”.

      Either that, or you just like to complain. 

      • It seems that community is easily manipulated into being fine with an unfinished product (and no, monk weapon animations aren’t the biggest offender here). Remember “Done when it’s done?” Apperantly not, and you’re giving them a free pass.

      • I would rather have a later perfect game, than a rushed, imperfect game.  Sorry.

        Besides, it’s not like waiting a little while longer to get things finished would matter. We’ve only waited 12-ish years already…

      • Not hardly.  Saying the beta is “easy” is using a relative term.  Easy to one is not so easy to another.  Having set goals and accomplishing them all = finished.

    • When was that? Not in the past 12 or so years. Diablo 2 needed massive balance changes after release. 

    • They’ve stated in several interviews that the launch date is just the beginning, they’ll be revising the game in many patches to come. Since they lack foresight of problems that may arise in the game, they want to release it first and change the game overtime as they see how the gamers actually need it.

  7. It’s great that they’re doing this… it is a constant complaint on the beta forums, so yeah, I agree that it’s a good way of showing the fans that they’re listening.
    Now if they would only fix the crappy skill UI, we’d be golden 😉

  8. Its good that they are doing it but i dont really care. Monk was awesome in the beta. I absolutly loved the character and did not care about animations. There are much more important things defining a class than animations and i think that people that whine about him not using weapons in some skill animations are just shallow in a way :).

    • This would have been okay if it didn’t take… oh, FOREVER to release!!! They had ample amount of time to fix this issue.

      • How do you how much EXTRA time they had? It seems to me they were 100% busy all the time during these years working on much more imortant things than Monks animations… You say that as if they finished the game 2 years ago and than just sat back and relaxed…

        • If Blizzard had a solid idea how this game should be in the first place, maybe they would have enough time to make Monk animations, come up with proper UI’s, give social tools worth talking about (and through) and i dunno, maybe PvP would make it in for the release. Instead they came up with some ideas, then immidietly backed out from implementing them. Not to mention, trying to reinvent skill system a few times in dev cycle seems like a waste of time, but i might be wrong.
          I mean usually when you want to create something, you don’t change the design mid-process. That’s just wasteful.

          • Yeah…i think you should teach them how to make games since you seem to have it all figured out in a way that cant possibly fail. Nothing would have to ever be redone if you were there instead of Jay. Go go for the good of the city!

            P.S. You remind me on those people who keep telling the players what they should do and how they suck when watching a sports match although those same players have spent years training and know WAY more than you about the game. Things are not that easy once YOU do them…its easy to stand on the side and cynically say that people are idiots once something allready goes the wrong way.

            @ElBozo…i cant reply to your next post for some reason so i will write it here.

            Planning? What is this planning you speak off? I think that this new revolutionary idea should be brought to Blizzards attention!


            On a serious note….with a project as massive and as complicated as D3 things NEVER go according to plan. I am an engineer and i work on much smaller projects and still things mostly dont go according to plan!

          • @IgorAl: I guess planning out what your game should be like before starting to make it, is unheard of in gaming industry. Also pointing this out is somehow indicative to me claiming to be a game design guru… right…

            EDIT response: I know that things don’t always go according to plan. In case of D3, did they even have a plan? One thing is correcting your mistakes, other thing is redesigning vital portions of game every month – as could be seen with the skill system. It’s not like you can’t predict the outcomes of your decisions, especially with a team and budget that sits behind D3. For example, it’s not hard to imagine that runes as items could clutter the inventory. They could’ve easily skipped this step and go straight for what we have right now.

          • Well I’m grateful that Blizzard has the resources to change their master design plan when they had done majority of the game system and realise that the game is not as fun as they want it to be….

             What we have is much better than devs running out of resources and forced to ship games which they themselves feels to be crappy and not their best effort :S

          • Having an overall plan and be gutsy enough to admit that the plan wasn’t as good as initially thought, then change it, scores far more points in my book, than having an overall plan, realize it probably won’t work, then go ahead with it anyway.
            Why are we bothered that Blizzard takes a long as they do to make a game? Because we want to play the damn things, and we want to do that because we know we’ll get a, overall, quality product. 

  9. Monk is great animated, even without weapons he is badass. How about defending Wiz, DH, and WD all pinocchio-style animations, not attacks only…

  10. i am fine with the monk animations if the weapons would just stay on the monks back. i dont like how he keeps picking up the staff then putting it back on his back when its time to throw a punch. just leave it on his back and i see no problems

  11. One of the few “this is my opinion according to Blizzard” posts from Bashiok that was actually worth reading. That said I can’t help but mention that in the amount of time they took to make the game I could have gotten formal education and make the animations myself.

  12. Who can even notice this with all the stuff blowing up on screen? I seriously haven’t ever even noticed this issue when actually playing. Too much too pay attention to.

    • I was thinking about it all the time while playing the Monk, and I know I’m far from alone.

  13. I was expecting some inflammatory and sarcastic comments in the newspost, but then Flux seemed more interested in putting forth a neutral view on Bashiok’s reply.

    Then I scrolled up to see that it wasn’t Flux who wrote it, and everything fell into place. 

    • However, Niz loses points for his misuse of “utilize” and the related grammar fail.

  14. Oh well. This is what happens when you let Jay Wilson design a class.
    /joking, partially.

    Tbh, I don’t mind the lack of weapon animations, though I understand why it bothers some people.
    It’s a shame they went away from the more combo-order based combat for the monk which they had initially envisioned – which I assume is the change in direction they talk about (that and the focus on staffs).

  15. Basically, that wall of text was = ”we decided not to do these animations”. Imagine a car manufacturer going ”we could have painted the decklid also, but we decided to focus our painting efforts on more important parts of the car”. I agree with the unfinished product characterisation in previous posts.

    • Except that Bashiok actually said that they had fixed the animation for 3 skills ready for release and more coming in the patch….

      So your post is already 100% wrong. 

  16. There are so many solutions to this problem its not funny. But everyone seem’s intent on bitching about the monk since its so clearly the new teacher’s pet of the classes (Jay’s class). Really though, allow weapons to be transmuted. Then all weapon’s can be class specific and when transmutted the skills specializations change and can only be done once. Fixed, god I’m smart lol. 😀

    • That doesn’t even make sense, and it sounds like it’d be a hell of a lot more work than simply adding in some animations.

  17. I’m much more interested in making the class function well. Honestly I’m fine and dandy with many of his animations using just his fists and feet and not weapons. I wish we could have a command to sheath weapons like in WoW so that you didn’t have him constantly grabbing and resheathing his weapons as he fights.

    Also, I don’t think the monk needs more weapon types. He already has every 1h weapon in addition to fist weapons, dai bos, polearms and staves. It just seems wrong to have the monk running around with a big mace or axe… That is what the barb does.

    • thats exactly what im thinking too! what was wrong with the monk using fist weapons and staffs? would suite his style perfectly and woud’ve been so much easier to animate everything just for those types of weapons.
      srsly why the heck do you think its mandatory that the monk can use whatever he wants?
      yeah lets give the dh the ability to use a giant sword as offhand-weapon “CUZ ITS SOAH COOL”…..srsly everything was fine back before but now they even homogenize more. if you want to use every melee weapon play the barb FFS

    • I agree that the Monk doesn’t need more weapon types. They really should focus that time on fully animating him.

  18. The only really confusing part to me is.. why are monk-specific weapons staves? Why not fist weapons?
    If they have a hard time making all those animations, why make such a weapon the class-specific one.. 

    anyways, I claimed to hate the monk class until I played the beta and saw the reveal movie.
    Definatly my favorite class, it plays really smooth and is very joyful.  

  19. As a MMA fan and practitioner I won’t be playing the monk mainly because he is designed by non fighters. They could easily have hired someone who knows melee combat to animate this guy, it is absolutely ridiculous with telegraphed punches and bullshit kicks that would hurt no one but himself. I can accept some free spirit in design as it’s a game in fantasy setting, lightning and whatnot.. but the monk is not a martial artist and would get choked out in about.. oh, 20 seconds in an octagon. That is all.

    • Newsflash: that applies to every single character.
      Not possible to shoot two crossbows in each hand, swords aren’t swung like that, magic doesn’t work like that, and the witch doctor is too tall. (to name a few problems 😛 )

      Just chill. People have been shooting shotguns from the hip for decades in movies, it doesn’t make them any less enjoyable.

      • that applies to every single character

        The Barbarian would never get choked out. 

      • I kind of disagree with that, as I said I can tolerate some freedom of aestethics as it’s after a freaking video game. But the demon hunter fires a bow like a bow is fired, the barbarian has good core movement in his bashing around, magic is of course free for all and don’t really care about that.  The monk however takes a stance that a rookie would leg sweep in a second and just moves awkward and like he is animated by, well, a guy who probably never did a pullup in his life, and that’s ok, but maybe not animate the one “finess” melee class.

        I guess It’s just disappointing as it’s a big part of who I am and I like to relate, though the DH was a blast so I’m ok. Look at a game like assassins creed though, even if it’s over the top it’s real movement and made by martial artists, even Dana white commented on it. Blizzard should taken notice and I feel the issue is with pride of designers hampering the quality of the class.

        • Barbarian: So how did you die anyway?

          Monk: The Skeleton King again.

          Barbarian: Hammer to teh head?

          Monk: Leglock. 

  20. The Monk uses his weapons in Crippling Wave and Dashing Strike, I think in Seven-Sided Strike and Sweeping Wind, as well.  I was troubled by this earlier in the spring, but I’m satisfied with it now.   After all, the rest are either punching attacks, where it makes sense that the sword/staff/etc is not part of the attack, or things like mantras, etc. I even like the gigantic bell. The only animation I don’t like at this point is Tempest Rush, because it uses some sort of phantom daibo, even if he is equipped with an actual one.  And it looks like the Star Wars Kid.

  21. By far, the best evaluation, i agree with you, but, if the weapons were initially programmed to be sticks and fists, then it should have been a plan to increase those drop rates and add more weapon choices exclusive for the class. Supress the image of a weapon handling while using a skill simply shows how worthless they are on creating and indentity for the character. They do need to correct that, and add more character to the monks.

  22. I hope they fix tempest rush, it just looks stupid when you have a staff equiped and you use the skill. The skill animation uses a staff so why is yours on your back.

    • Just like how you can’t use many skills with the demon hunter if you don’t have a bow/Xbow equipped, this is one skill where I really think . . make it available only if a daibo is equipped.

  23. crippling wave will have them animations ? nice, it’s one of my chosen 6! cu in inferno people..

  24. After playing SC2 since inception, I’m allowed to complain about EVERYTHING.  Right down to the UI and deserted feeling I get when I’m playing.  When you look at other games i.e. DOTA2 and what they are implementing, you kind of wonder just wtf was Blizzard doing ALL this time?

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