Shenlong’s Spirit Buffed — Blizzard Doesn’t Hate Monks?


Shenlong; a famous Chinese dragon.

Shenlong; a famous Chinese dragon.

Blizzard made a major improvement to the two-weapon Monk set, Shenlong’s Spirit, in the last PTR patch. The notes:

DiabloWikiShenlong’s Spirit
(2) Set

  • Energy ball weapon damage increased from 300% to 1200%
  • Spirit generation increased from 1 to 4 per second
  • Energy ball size significantly increased
  • The legendary set proc fires a ball of energy which functions very much like the D3v proc on the Hellfire Ring. Prior to the last patch it was a pretty weak effect, but the buff to 1200% quadrupled the power, and the size increase made it better at hitting things. The question then, is whether that proc effect is good enough to offset the reduced damage a Monk will take by changing from two awesome legendary weapons to the two Fist weapons in this set… which are high quality items, but don’t have legendary affixes of their own, or +elemental damage, as the best one handed weapons do.

    The answer to that question, provided by Monk MVP Druin (author of that recent and gloomy Monkifesto), is no. His post, and then the big blue reply can be seen below:

    Druin: In the last batch of PTR changes, Shenlong’s Spirit had its set bonus adjusted dramatically from 300% weapon damage to 1,200% weapon damage. This is a big buff but there remains one major roadbump to making this a successful set. Shenlong’s Spirit has an “ICD” or Internal Cooldown that keeps it from being viable compared to the other options available.

    TLDR:

  • Shenlong’s being buffed from 300% to 1,200% damage is a good step
  • It currently has an ICD of 3 seconds
  • This ICD makes it deal ~70% of the damage you get from 2x 20% fire-damage weapons in the most well-suited spec
  • Suggestion — change the ICD to 1/APS with a 50% proc chance (on attack) which would put it in line with Odyn / TF / Shard / Rime and would give fire monks a much wanted wep-proc that even thematically fits their playstyle

  • John Yang: Thanks for your continued feedback and analysis. As a math guy myself, I appreciate it a lot.

    To start, there are some assumptions made in the examples which I’d like to point out, clarify, and add to for the record:

  • DiabloWikiThe Burning Axe of Sankis and DiabloWikiDevastator are not a simple net +20% Fire damage each when compared to Shenlong’s. Those two “+20% Fire Damage” affixes replace “+10% Damage [to this Weapon]” affixes, and if we assume +60% Fire Damage from other gear, actually result in <10% increase in total player damage each.
  • Shenlong’s other set bonuses (+250 Dex, +4 Spirit/second) account for roughly 4% total player damage.
  • Devastator/Burning Axe of Sankis’ +Fire damage benefits your other sources of fire damage (e.g. generators, Mystic Ally, etc).
  • Burning Axe of Sankis’ Ignore Pain proc is quite strong, as you said.
  • Balancing items is a complex problem sometimes given all the variables in the equation. Occasionally this is a matter of math but we always take into account the fantasy of a legendary power and how it plays in practice. In the end, a lot of the assumptions in this comparison even out so your conclusion is reasonably accurate. As for your suggestion of 50% proc rate and lower corresponding ICD, we feel that more reliability works better for this specific kind of legendary power (proc line damage).

    Given our internal testing and observations, Shenlong’s Spirit’s internal cooldown has been reduced from 3 seconds to 3 / Attacks_Per_Second seconds, which brings it down to 1.86 seconds at most, with no other sources of attack speed increases.

    Hope you all enjoy the “aiming your melee attacks with ranged enemies in mind” gameplay of Gyana Na Kashu and Shenlong’s Spirit as much as I do.

    So now that Shenlong’s Spirit Buffed — Blizzard Doesn’t Hate Monks? The further replies in that forum thread are mixed, with some players thinking it’s still way too weak a buff. The OP/MVP Druin replied with approval, though.

    I don’t have an opinion; I haven’t played any Monk in a long time, much less Monk using the highest level gear, but I like the idea of the set bonus. Rather than just boosting melee damage, it adds the ranged attack for some variety. I think it’d be interesting if some other item could modify that further; make the Energy Ball piercing, or homing, or leave a DoT cloud of spectral energy, etc.

    Comments

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    1. Quadrupled? Shouldn't it be "they doubled it and then doubled again!"?

    2. I have to say I really like dev explanations like this and I'd like to see more. Can has weekly dev posts about balancing?

    3. Monks still need a bit more love. Everytime I start to feel my monk is feeling in a good place I get on my shotgun sader and quickly realize where they actually stand against the bar I have set for them. Up until my recent death on ptr I had nearly all the higher end gear to test and while they have definitely opened up a lot more specs for us we are still lower in damage than the top classes on the leaderboard.

      If you compare the PTR monk to the live monk you can see a huge improvement but monks really just need a large bump in damage for some of their spenders and a bit of an improvement on generators.

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