Blizzard on Monk v1.05 Concerns

In response to the changes that have occurred with the Monk in v1.05 and the classes viability, Blizzard comments:

We feel that monks are in a decent place at the moment, and are a solid class in terms of power, but there are some things that we would like to address with the class. Namely: we would like to delve deeper into fulfilling the fantasy of what it means to be a monk.

Currently, monks spend a lot of their time applying an assortment of DPS buffs through the use of utility and survivability buttons. The bulk of monk damage comes from very passive gameplay, like healing yourself to get a damage buff, or applying DiabloWikiSweeping Winds (db) and not looking at it again. We want to give players who enjoy the fantasy of being a blur of fists and feet a more active playstyle, and we’d love to play up some other fun mechanics as well.

For example, one possibility we’re considering is changing one of DiabloWikiDashing Strike‘s (db) runes to allow players to travel further with the skill so that it can serve as a mobility tool, but at the cost of imposing a cooldown. Another possibility we’re exploring is making DiabloWikiLashing Tail Kick (db) feel more compelling by moving the knockback component to a rune, or changing a rune to remove the knockback and instead increase the damage more meaningfully. These types of changes are not minor tweaks, however. We want to make sure we take some time to make meaningful changes that improve the overall play experience for these sacred warriors.

Do monks agree? Is he in a good place right now and will a cool down on Dashing Strike and shifting the knockback element away from Lashing Tail to a rune improve him even further? Or do you think they need to go further with balancing the monk, making him more powerful?

Update: Added a second reply from CM Vaeflare in the OP. Feedback there is much as you see in comments to this thread; lots of angry Monk players who feel their class has been screwed and/or left behind by Blizzard’s patch changes.

While there are currently solid build options for monks both in 1.0.4 and 1.0.5, and while top-tiered monks using very specific builds can achieve respectable damage, the class isn’t yet where we want it to be. We’re definitely aware of your concerns, and we agree that additional improvements should be made, especially with regards to play style options, build diversity, and the performance and budget of monk resources. We feel that the monk has the most potential for improvement, and we have plans to make more changes to the monk after 1.0.5. The sort of changes we’d like to make are not simple number tweaks, though.

Ultimately, we want to make monks more engaging to play and really immerse players in what it would feel like to be a fast-punching martial arts master. We have a number of ideas on how to accomplish that for the future, and we want to provide improved passives, particularly passives that can be used for a more offensively-minded monk. I also mentioned two other possible changes we’re considering in my previous post, but those certainly aren’t the only changes we’re looking into. They address another area we feel could use improvement, and that’s giving players some additional, more active play style options.

We have more improvements planned and they’re still only in the discussion phase, so we’re not really in a place right now to talk about them in much detail, but we’re actively working towards solutions to address many key concerns.

Hey, at least they didn’t nerf DiabloWikiOne With Everything. Yet…

Additional replies were added a day later, with more explanation of their Monk balance plans.

Your first post saying monks are SOLID CLASS in terms of power….
Lylirra: Correct, but that’s only one variable when it comes to class balance. In terms of power, we feel that monks are doing pretty well. But in terms of build and play style diversity, resource management and budgeting, and offensive passives, we feel that there’s still room for improvement. There’s a lot that works for monks right now, but there are definitely areas that could be better.

Oh, and what is with this “we can’t just tweek numbers to ballance the class” do you read your own patch notes? what was the last game mechanic change you made that did not involve either “doubling it” or cutting it in half? WHAT IS GOING ON DOWN THERE? of course you can tweek numbers to buff weak skills. ugh all you ever do with your patches is change a variable in a formula and now all of a sudden you can’t? who actually believes this load?
Lylirra: I think you may have misunderstood. The kinds of changes we’re currently considering for monks (the changes we feel would best benefit the class) go beyond simply upping one number or lowering another. The examples Vaeflare provided for Dashing Strike and Lashing Tail Kick fall into this category. Adjusting numbers is fairly easy to do, but redesigning how a skill or skill rune works is much more complex. While we still may tweak some skill values in the future, right now we’re looking at changes that require a little more development time.

As for “what was the last mechanic change you made that did not involve either ‘doubling it’ or cutting it in half”? From 1.0.5, the changes to Companion and Sentry are great examples, and we’re redesigning some runes this patch too. From 1.0.4, witch doctor pet improvements were pretty notable. We also changed the format for how damage over time is dealt for a number of skills, as well.

Ohh I get it, you mean nerfing OWE, right?
Lylirra: What Wyatt said previously still holds true:

“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 b) 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. “

We don’t have any changes planned for OWE right now. That may change, but if it does, we’d still want our approach to be as outlined above.

When you guys look into build diversity, it’d be nice if you took some of these proposed changes to our combination strikes into consideration:
Lylirra: I’ll take a look. 🙂

(And, no, this doesn’t mean I haven’t seen all the other threads players have posted. This forum has kept me very busy with all the feedback you’ve provided. Keep it up!)

I have been under the impression that while there is no specific change planned for OWE, there is a plan that OWE will eventually be changed somehow to make it a less mandatory passive.
Lylirra: You’re correct, that’s still the plan. I’m just saying we don’t have any specific changes for OWE at the moment.

Tell us kindly the good reason in nerfing the defense passives when 90% of monk’s passives
Lylirra: Just so that I know that we’re on the same page, have you had the opportunity to read this developer journal, yet? (It was written a few weeks ago, so it may have been missed.)

It goes pretty in depth into why we’re making changes to defensive skills, and breaks down each change class-by-class.

Related to this article
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  • Blizzard Answers v1.0.5 Questions
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    24 thoughts on “Blizzard on Monk v1.05 Concerns

    1. Translation: “We think the Monk is great, why is anyone complaining?! Only…..we think that the way people want to actually play the class is impossible to pull off and there’s very few, or really only 1 viable path to play the character, so we’re gonna change a bunch of stuff on the class. But really, it’s great as-is.”

      capcha? “whoa there” Makes sense

      • Did you not get the memo?

        1 Class 1 Skill 1 Build 1 Goal = Profit!

        If you don’t like it go play Torchlight 2 sucka!

    2. lol they think the class is fine? wow I just don’t know what to say. It’s by far the weakest class, almost every single passive we have is garbage now that they nerfed the only good ones we had. All this talk about build diversity is such BS monk has like one build that all monks go because every other skill is complete garbage.

    3. Monk has the least build diversity, saw some graph showing that 100% of monks at level 30 paragon + uses the same 5 skills, only the 6th varies slightly.

      And here blizz is talking about how monks uses passive skills to boost their damage, when our highest damage skill is a freaking mantra! MoC with overawe rune is by far the highest damage skill the monk has on a per spirit spend basis, and they are surprised that monks don’t use their active skills?

      The Monk already needs a serious buff in their resource system, they are by far the class that can use the fewest skills before running out of their resource, and then it is probably the slowest to regain as well. And again they sound surprised that monks don’t use their active skills…

      On a final word, does anyone else get the feel that they are thinking about nerfing the passive damage boosts from skills like Breath of Heaven? Cause it sounded that way to me.

      • At Paragon 30+, Demon Hunters are the same way. Hungering Arrow (insert one of two runes), Loaded for Bear, Bat Companion, Gloom, Lingering Fog, Battle Scars, Steady Aim, Sharpshooter, Archery.

        Everyone once and a while I’ll see a DH with RoV/Stampede or Elemental Arrow in place one of the above skill, but yeah, ZERO build diversity. And really, Barbs and Wizards at P30+ are one build wonders too…. and you all know what these builds are.

    4. I wish we would get some more good offensive passives to combat the now nerfed defensive ones(that are probably still the best ones despite the nerf) – Guiding Light and Combination Strike are really not very good.

      Also I play a lot with barbarians, and it seems that skills like Revenge and Wrath of the Beserker are much stronger than anything we have, but I might be wrong on that, they just come off as being very, very powerful.

      PS: I hope they don’t change One With Everything before all the gear(Expansion?) needs to be replaced anyway. It was probably a bad idea to implement it in the first place, but changing it now will gravely devaluate more or less all monks current gear.

    5. Not sure if we monks are weak, I do feel quite strong at least, but build diversity is just crap and those changes they are talking about is just a joke. There are soooo many worthless active skills and runes atm.
      Now they try to change our strongest passive defense abilities so that there will be more of a choice between passives for us, but most of them are still crap so I at least wont change around much. Or at all. 😮

      I do hope they consider about 50 more changes. At least. Would be fun to have at least one active skill (atm my most active skill is probably serenity…)

      • Wish I could edit (editing ever coming back?)…

        My main was a Monk. She was shelved in 1.0.4 due to no sorely needed class improvements. Now with the incoming 1.0.5 nerfs, she won’t be coming out of retirement any time soon.

    6. I don’t play the PTR but on the current patch, i feel that monks are really strong as they can focus on damaging abilities because life on spirit spent is such a strong stat.

      I did read about the nerfs, i wish we had some good offensive passives to balance it out though.

      Also, in my opinion the only way they could improve monk active abilities would be by reducing their casting speed. Right now the only way to maximise damage and survivability at the same time is to spam mantras and buffs as they don’t stop our auto-attacks. Or they would have to improve the %weapon damage so high that it counters the lack of spirit generated we would have by auto-attacking during that cast animation from the spell.

    7. when the barbarian has more mobility (leap up/down ledges and over gaps), is faster (sprint), is largely more survivable AND does more dmg

      what exactly does the monk bring to the table? the barb even has great group buffs (for those awesome 4 ppl team-ups =/)

      srsly, when they gutted the monk’s dashing strike to no longer cross gaps back in the beta, i knew that was a sign of the end times, removing exploding palm from the spirit builders was the last coffin nail

      the monk needs to be faster and either deal more dmg than the barb but be squisher, or be tankier with less dmg (build options should reflect this, ie unable to spec both at once)

      giving the monk MORE skills wouldnt hurt either (since they have the least), but at the very least, fix/buff the skills they already have back to where they were in beta (let dashing strike cross gaps, hell let it go up/down ledges, and make exploding palm a spirit builder again)

      anyways, just my 2 cents

    8. Monks are in a terrible place. We have been using cyclone/thunderclap for months now. The monk simply has TOO MANY terrible skills.
      -No one uses WotHF, CW, hardly any Mantra runes other than basics like Overawe/backlash/hard target
      -mantra of retribution is completely unused
      -wave of light isn’t effective even after the buff, LTK is not worth the time to cast it because you could otherwise get 2-3 generator attacks in that time
      -blazing wrath is just a buff stick
      -no one uses inner sanctuary either, a definitive monk skill
      – EP still isn’t useful because you can’t get through elites quick enough to have a ton of explosions, and the damage/damage range isn’t worth the time or spirit
      – mystic ally is completely terrible
      -the monk bar is crowded with staples so there’s no room for semi-decent skills like SSS

      The monk needs a redesign on skills, like the DH got on companion for instance, to make it a good class. There is no diversity for the class, it doesn;t feel fun to play a monk, and Blizzard is wrong on this one.

    9. I had a blast with my monk up until 60, when I hit inferno and realised that all of the builds i had used while leveling were being replaced with the one build that everyone else was using being everything else just didn’t work well in inferno. I switched to a WD after 1.0.4 and haven’t looked back. I now only use my monk for Leoric’s signet runs since I can use infinite tempest rush and MoC with the Submission rune to just run through not stopping, everything just dies before i can get to it. so fast. But seriously, the Monk needs a complete overhaul of the skills to make it work well, I like most of the skill variations, but they just need to be so much better than they are now.

    10. The devs obviously don’t play their own game, and they should so that they are not “fixing” things that aren’t broken. Seriously, they can program well but they have no idea about balance.

      Barbarians have shat all over monks since launch – I know because I play a monk and teamed with a barb for about 100hrs. Since Barbs are the closest thing to a monk, they need to lift the viability of monk builds to match the Barb.

      Nerfing any skill of the monk will lower the class even further.

    11. I’ve played all five classes through nightmare, the DH through hell, and the monk now in hell act 2. All in 1.04, no PTR.

      The monk is most survivable character except for the witch doc, who did not reach nightmare till after the 1.04 witch doc buffs. She kills well and dies rarely.

      But Blizzard is right, there is really one monk build which is pretty much mandatory—the class has less build diversity than the other four.

      So I have problem with buffing the skills no one is using. Just don’t touch One With Everything—it gives the class much of its flavor and vitality.

    12. I personally like the idea of throwing in more elemental-centric damage I like how there are cold/light/fire skill damage legendaries that can promote those differences in build, however the skills and their runes don’t have enough elemental damage additions. There are a fire and lightning based abilities, but I wish there were more. That right there could promote build diversity. I like the idea of OWE having an elemental damage based component with the resist type used. There could be a passive all to itself that mimics the 25% elemental skill damage buff that these legendaries have. Sounds like a simple offensive passive people would use.

    13. I approve that they’re looking into making my play style more favorable.

      That said, it’s people themselves that choose try and play the Monk as a tank/Barb.
      I don’t think I’ve earned 10 mil in all, and I’m doing fine with my 2-hander, WotHF/SSS/Overawe build.
      I use Dashing Strike a lot and I don’t even use One With Everything.

      People will do anything to keep play style simple, even it means grinding hours on end for that same overly expensive gear that everyone else has. It’s only because people want the Monk to be a Barb. They want him to just stand there and tank instead of being a highly mobile damage dealer.

      I had this fun encounter with a DH who exclaimed “would you please TANK”, because I wasn’t just standing there taking the damage for him. It didn’t matter much that I was the one killing everything, and his pea-gun had next to no effect. He put me in a box, and me not being in there, spamming a mantra, it most likely made his ears bleed.

      It all comes down to people being unable to fathom that the Monk could be something else entirely than a Barbarian. Suck it up.

      • it is not about simplicity of the specc ; i would love to play with complicated synergiees and/or timings if it meant that I am better of than the guy who uses all his animation time on FOT; Thunderclap. but actually it is not more effective , as a matter of fact blizzard fucked up when it comes to skill design and pros / and cons of skills. their view on balance is heavily skewed and biased its as simple as that ;

        just look at the barbarian ; battlerage into the fray, it grants 3 crit 15% and 15 FURY ON CRIT , when i saw that i knew that this skill was the most fucking insane imbalanced shit i have ever seen. can someone explain to me where they pull these arbitrary numbers from ?

        I mean this ability alone overthrows the whole purpose of having a ressource management system in a first place and makes him play completely different and more powerful than any barbarian who does not pick up this ridiculous skill; If you ask me they should have nerfed battlerage and not run like the wind ;

        however that being said lets take look at an particular Monk skill which stands for everything which is wrong with the design of the Monk.

        lets compare FOT Thunderclap and FOT Static Charge.

        FOT Thunderclap is the most damaging ; by default fastest Combo attack in the game with the biggest LOH mod on top of an significant Combatmovementspeed boost.

        so now look at FOT Static Charge. at first you might think , how much worse could this rune be – i mean its the same base skill. but you’d be wrong. it is significantly worse

        the most obvious quality you will lose is the teleport ; of thunderclap – not only is the base speed of all classes really slow and sluggish but also you’d need the teleport even more for static charge than you would for Thunderclap.

        second you will notice a significant dps decrease. because in order to deal the 37% static charge damage you will need to tag a secondary target first. also your primary target does not benefit from the 37% charge damage only secondary targets which are not directly hit by fot itself. that means that the static charge rune deals exactly as much damage as fot without rune to single targets.

        third FOT Thunderclap has 2/3 higher LOH coeffecient than any other rune of FOT : also special about those 2/3 more LOH is that these 2/3 are capable of hitting multiple targets which makes them effectively 2x-3x times as good if you are used to fighting / hitting 2-4 targets at the same time.

        this is the main problem ; Blizzard does simply fucking terrible job at balancing skills with one another and in context with synergies. they look at balance like this ; can manage act 3 with act 3 gear with this skill ? if the awnser is yes. it is considered viable. it doesnt matter to them if another skill of the same class and of the same kind does the job thrice as fast and convenient.

        eg. look at static charge example again; i think that the mechanic behind that skill is terrific. you put in that “tagging” to deal damage mechanic into the game to make it more interesting and diverse. but at the same time its does not pay of to use it even if you would play it perfectly like an korean dance dance evolution / Tetris allstar.

        what is the fucking point ? are they mocking / taunting us ? who tweaks those numbers and what kind of thought process goes into distributing values to skills ? I really don’t think that they make any deep inside analyses of these things to begin with. they are like moody toddlers who tweak numbers according to what is their favorite toy at the time.

        which is why i stopped playing for a while now, the game mechanics (core attributes / Itemization / Skill design)
        is just too bland. you cant explore possibilities and game styles because they are no underlying deep mechanics to be figured out, synergies that do exist are painstakingly obvious (eg every barbarian using weaponmastery + mace / axe + ruthles) which leaves only the grind and the economy juggling ; none of which are appealing or rewarding.

        • I completely agree. Most skills are simply not viable when you look at it like that. But it doesn’t concern me as much because I don’t strive to play the most ‘optimal’ way, as it is simply not the most fun.

          Even if you play this game with the optimal cookie-cutter build and gear, you’ll forever lack behind of people that have more time than you. To what ends are we gaming then?

          I know just this: while my play style was up hill at 1.01, it has become increasingly more viable and fun every single patch. 1.05 will further increase it, and now they’ve let us know that they’ll keep pushing in that direction.

    14. “We think the monk is in a good place as-is”

      “We think the monk needs improvement”

      …….Is that CM running for presidential re-election or something? O.o

      • i thought the same thing ; the same CM is so full of crap.
        Q: the monk sucks; he has the least skill diversity and efficiency and as a result the least build diversity.

        A: We think everything about the monk is AWESOME. we are sorry that you don’t feel the same way, but as it happens the Dev-team has figured out a way to make him even more AWESOME ! (btw this is completely unrelated to the 100 Monk complain threads and we all figured that out by ourselves – as coincidence has it exactly at the same time as the complaint threads)

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