One Life to Live #5:(Exploding)Heart of Darkness

I’ve learned few things this week: 1. Stop writing a column in advance, new information will always come out and ruin my plans. 2. I can spend just as much time watching someone play Diablo as I would playing it. 3. I say “right” a lot in response to Flux ( that scares me).

So you’ve made it this far so that means you’ve managed to pry your self away from the Beta streams. I mean how awesome are they?


Okay so linking to them in my column may not have been a good idea, still there? This week we start a long look at the classes and their hardcore ramifications.This weeks focus: The Monk.

As a warning I will be using some of the data mined information please keep in mind this is still subject to change, and of course spoilorish, I’m not going into lore or quests but skills  and if you wish to have those remain secret then read no further.

For hardcore I’ve always been drawn to a melee character, jumping into the fray of monsters swinging wildly and feeling like i had to fight tooth and nail for my life. The Monk I predict will emulate this experience, his combo’s echo back to the assassin, his mantras to the paladin, and the play style entirely his own. So what secrets does this stalwart warrior hold for the Hardcore community?

Active Skills

The monk has a variety of attack to keep you entertained and clicking a heap, but it’s not your attacks that save your life in hardcore but the skills our soft core counterparts neglect that will get us to DiabloWiki inferno and beyond. I’ve chosen to highlight the passive and active skills that will keep you alive in hardcore, and not simply look at every skill. All of this base information can be found at our wiki, my beautiful commentary however, can not.

DiabloWikiBlinding Flash


Blinding Flash is available at level 1.

Spirit Skill Creates a flash of light that blinds all nearby enemies. Blinded enemies will not attack unless they are attacked first. Lasts for X-X seconds. Blinded enemies have a X% reduced chance to hit.

This seems to have a great utility for those situations that could be overwhelming. The key wording is that enemies can’t attack unless they attacked first. Things getting sticky and your at half life with a potion on cool down? Boom Blinding flash and time to hightail it, and see if those monsters will follow or if you can safely pick them off.

DiabloWikiMantra of Healing

Mantra of Healing is available at level 4. Recite a Mantra that causes you and all allies within {Script Formula 0} yards to gain increased Life regeneration by[{Script Formula 10}|1|] Life per second. Lasts [{Script Formula 4}] seconds.

Health regeneration will be a big factor now that we have potions with cool downs, any skill I can grab that will help me stay alive seems worth it. As an added bonus I can help keep my party members alive and kicking as well, suddenly a monk is going to be a hardcore players best friend.

DiabloWikiDashing Strike

Dashing Strike is available at level 6.
A fast moving, charge-like attack, more useful for the movement than the damage dealt.

Another get out of Dodge skill. Every class has one, and these movement skills will be needed in hardcore. We can’t get pinned in a corner because we lack the ability to respawn. Anything that gets us out of harms way is helpful.


Serenity is available at level 18.
The Monk creates a shield that protects him from all incoming damage. Lasts X seconds.

One of my personal favorites, a nice “oh shit” button when you find yourself swamped.This gives time for your allies to help you out, chug a potion or just hammer away to dwindle the forces around you.

DiabloWikiMystic Ally

Mystic Ally is available at level 27.  Summons an elemental ally capable of engaging enemies in combat until it is destroyed

It’s always nice to play with friends, and when you don’t have that summon them! Another great way to divert attention from yourself, keep your health bar full and of course, kill monsters.

That of course is five skills, if you took all of those your offensive capabilities would be severely hindered, but if you take none of them you time in hardcore will be much shorter.  I personally see myself with at least two of these taking up my six skills. I imagine mantra of healing will be one, and dashing strike  the other for reasons stated above.

Passive Skills:

This is where it gets spoliorsh, the info I’m using here come from the data mined client and was posted to the IncGamers forum by Hardrock ( seriously awesome btw).

Exalted Soul

Flavor text: “Endeavor to be one with the hidden truth and you will soar beyond the sky.” -Waykeeper Tzo Krin

Description: Increases maximum Spirit by {c_green}{Script Formula 0}{/c_green}. Spirit fuels many Monk defensive and offensive abilities.

More spirit=more attacks, more dashes and a bigger chance at staying alive.

Fleet Footed

Flavor text: Strength out of place is no strength at all.

Description: Increase base movement speed by {c_green}[{Script Formula 0} * 100]%{/c_green}.

Seems to be a great compliment to Dashing strike. Since we know the monk isn’t meant to take as much damage as a barbarian, so moving quickly should keep him out of harms way while most importantly keeping him alive.

Near Death Experience

Flavor text: “We do not see what has been done, we only see what remains to be done.” -Mantra of the Monks of Ivgorod

Description: When receiving fatal damage, you are instead restored to {c_green}[{Script Formula 1} * 100]%{/c_green} of maximum Life and {c_green}[{Script Formula 2} * 100]%{/c_green} Spirit. This effect cannot occur more than once every {c_green}{Script Formula 0}{/c_green} seconds.

I can’t even fathom this in hardcore, I’m sure you’re popping up in bad shape with not a whole lot of life, but I had a lot of characters in D2 go down with just one monster left. Oh and those characters didn’t rise from the freaking dead. This almost feels like cheating, but if there going to give me the option..

One With Everything

Description: Your resistance to all elements is equal to your highest elemental resistance.

This can help shift priority away from stacking resistance and hopefully help get items to strengthen your health pool. It also will allow for greater survivability in the harder difficulties of the game.


Description: While stunned, feared or charmed, all damage taken is reduced by {c_green}[{Script Formula 0}*100]%{/c_green}.

Damage reduction is always a nice option, but combine that with it happening when you are at your most vulnerable and this seems hard to pass up.

Seize The Initiative

Description: Your Defense is increased by {c_green}[{Script Formula 2}*100]%{/c_green} of your Attack.


Description: Every point of Spirit spent heals you for {c_green}[{Script Formula 0}|1|]{/c_green} Life.

Healing yourself while continuing to do what you are already doing? Sounds great, any heal is a good one but one that rewards you for doing what you want to be doing seems like an instant pick up.


Obviously passives open up our game entirely.With even fewer slots to fill the debates can get intense.  The only one I can even commit to is Near Death Experience, which as I stated earlier seems to be game changing for us hardcore folks. The monk is shaping up to be not only a fierce fighter capable of doling out punishment, but a veritable swiss army knife able to stop stuns, heal his allies and most importantly himself.

Which skills do you see yourself using? How do you see you monk playing now that we have quite the better picture of the monk?

Next week the Barbarian: Send me your ideal builds, hardcore speculations and of course comments!

One Live to Live covers the Hardcore play and life style in the Diablo community. It is written by Xanth and published weekly. Post your comments below, Follow me on Twitter @HCXanth or contact the author directly.

Related to this article
You're not logged in. Register or login to post a comment.

18 thoughts on “One Life to Live #5:(Exploding)Heart of Darkness

  1. *SPOILER*
    You also missed lethal decoy for active skills. A defensive skill in its own right with the alabaster rune this turns to Simulacrum which is another near death experience equivalent. Seems like they expect the monk to get dealt some serious damage and not having the brute build of the barb still be able to come out the other side.

    • The massive amount of rune combos would have made this article practically a novel but I agree it has a great potential for Hardcore play

  2. The monk is a lot more appealing to me after this article.  Interesting skills, at least the ones most relevent to hardcore.

  3. I plan on doing a full play-through of Softcore with a Monk, then starting over on Hardcore with a Monk. I expect that Defensive skills will be > Offensive (obviously need a proper balance depending on the fight) for Hardcore. That being said, I can see myself using 2 combo generators, 2 offensive spirit skills, and then Serenity and Mantra of Healing as the 2 defensive skills. I just think Serenity will be invaluable, except possibly when grouping. Mantra of Healing might never be swapped out… 

    That being said however, for being a level 1 skill, I think Blinding Flash will be one of the most underrated skills in the game. The ability to pick and choose your fights, and not be overwhelmed? Potentially priceless.

    The passive’s are much more competitive imo. Near Death Experience seems irreplaceable, but so does Transcendence, and that only leaves 1 slot for an offensive? Sheesh… It’s gonna be tough.

  4. Just read this and it was really a nice read! I am almost tempted to start a monk on hardcore right from the get go with some of those passives…

  5. Between this column, and the lenghty hardcore discussions in the podcast, I am severely tempted to go hardcore in D3. (Was softcore all of my D2 “career.”)
    Also, Monk seems to have some pretty interesting skills to this end… 🙂

  6. One love your column, two I was listening to the podcast and fully agree that 10 may not be enough for HC play. For one, your going to have a fully leveled artisan, or at least I am, that I never play or risk and just funnel all the mats I get to him, so he can craft the things I want/need for my other HC chars.
    Then you have your bevy of other HC type chars that you mentioned in the podcast and in other areas with me already down to nine slots it just feels cramped in a way. Just my two cents on the whole 10 char limit.

    • I was just thinking also another char slot is going to go right out the door when I first start HC, hopefully without having to play SC first, I’m going to make one lvl 1 right off the bat go sit him in Tristam then start my real HC player so that I will have a shared stash incase something ugly happens and I lose a char really early I’ll gear in my shared stash to sort of soften the blow. So there goes another slot

Comments are closed.