Monk from Shaolin
And it’s started! Though, for now, only the writing about PvP part.
Monachomachia stands for War of the Monks in Greek, and if you’re reading this text, it’s safe to assume you can’t wait to start killing each other on the arenas of ‘Diablo 3’. Blizzard has released many materials concerning PvP, one of which is, I think, worth mentioning here; Bashiok, an American community manager, writing about a possible outcome of a wizard vs. monk duel, stated: ’ A melee oriented class like the monk has to close the gap to do any damage, but luckily the monk has a few options to close the gap. The monk is going to be beefier though with more defense and vitality over the wizard, ideally that'd negate any extra damage the wizard is able to pull off before getting pommeled.’
Skill or gear?
Later Bashiok wrote that it all comes down to the players themselves, skill point assignation and collected gear and if anything will be off, Blizzard will be quick to react to correct any imbalances.
D3 is not e-sport.
Answering a similar question Wuluxar, a Polish community manager wrote: We all love Pvp and that is why we created the arenas. As we stated before, we do not intend to make ‘Diablo 3’ an e-sport and we treat the arena system as a supplementary feature, rather than a core part of the game.
It’s obvious we’re going to fine tune the game in order to make each class distinct and rewarding to play. That goes for every aspect of gameplay, arenas included. However the mechanics behind them are not yet ready, therefore there’s no reason to look for hidden information on PvP, we’ll tell you everything when we’re ready.
BlizzCon 2011 monk PvP arena footage
Here you have several short movies, shot by fans during the last BlizzCon.
The build from the movies
The skills utilized are:
Deadly Reach with the Piercing Trident rune added for additional damage and a range increase for the second and third strike. While using this skill, the monk would often not hit the opponent; theoretically he could strike multiple foes, but rarely did the player manage to position the character to fully utilize the ability’s potential.
Dashing Strike with theWay of the Falling Star rune to increase movement speed. This was one of the skills available in the demo. It appears the range of this ability is larger when aiming at an opponent and not the ground, plus the rune only works if your strike connects. A good strategy when facing multiple opponents would be e.g. using Seven Sided Strike or Lashing Tail Kick to immobilize the melee attackers and then getting the Dashing Strike to close the distance between the monk and archers. The cost of the[ i]Dashing Strike was 10 Spirit points, so as long as you didn’t overuse it, there weren’t any problems with energy management; unfortunately since the Beta Patch 1.5 it grew to 25, with only the Quicksilver rune reducing it back to 10, which greatly hinders the ability’s potential.
Lashing Tail Kick with the Scorpion Sting rune, adding a stun effect. Another great skill for PvP, especially when facing another monk, or worse, a barbarian. Obviously you can’t win a match using only this one ability, but it would be hard to imagine a monk build without it; that was the opinion of the demo reviewer. Unfortunately we now know that Blizzard will implement certain items shortening the time of stun and similar effects, so it would be a good idea to start thinking about alternative builds.
Serenity with the Peaceful Repose rune, granting a healing effect, making a really efficient combo. In the movies it could be used once per 60 sec, but luckily Blizzard has cut that time to 20 sec, in light of frequently occurring situations where the monk could not use it, when needed most, because it was still on cooldown.
Seven Sided Strike with Fulminating Onslaught, causing explosions with each strike. Very useful against 1v1, the explosions make it more attractive in a one versus many, weakening every attacker. Another important thing is that while performing the attack, our monk was immune to damage. The downside is the 30 sec cooldown and the frequent misses due to the enemies getting outside the strike’s effective range of 20 yards.
Mantra of Conviction, with the Demoralize rune, slowing opponents down. The 3 sec bonus to damage, I find a bit lacking and the runic effect proved to be not as good as it was thought to be, also there is a problem with remembering to activate the ability in the heat of battle. However if used correctly in combination with e.g. Dashing Strike it proved devastating.
Transcendence – extremely useful in PvP.
Sixth Sense – a good choice, according to the reviewer, if you can get the right gear and the way the character is specialized.
Chant of Resonance – the extended mantra duration is largely redundant in PvP, though the 2 point\sec Spirit regeneration more than makes this skill useful.
Though I would refrain from calling this footage a thought through PvP battle, there are a few information we can deduce. The difference in playstyle between ‘Diablo 2’ and ‘Diablo 3’ seems to be rather significant; judging from the skill sets of each character, we will see extensive use of CC, buff, and debuff techniques, the monk possessing skills in each of those categories.
The monk also has several skills beneficial for their allies.
CC - Crowd Control
Flying Side Kick – runic skill for Dashing Strike, gives a 60% chance to stun your opponent for 1.5 sec
Scorpion Sting – runic skill for Lashing Tail Kick, replaces the knock-back effect with a 50% chance to stun multiple opponents for 1.5 sec
Self Reflection – runic skill for Blinding Flash, extends the duration of the blind effect for 4 sec
Blinding Echo – runic skill for Blinding Flash, adds a second flash of light that blinds enemies for 0.5 sec, seems like a good choice when fighting while moving around a lot.
Searing Light – runic skill for Blinding Flash, more of a PvE skill, granting a 60% miss rate for elite enemies.
Indignation – runic skill for Mantra of Retribution, adds a stun effect to the reflected damage; might be a good bonus when teamed up with a witch doctor and their minions.
Pandemonium – runic skill for Seven-Sided Strike, adds a 7 sec stun to each hit; the downside is the long cooldown period, but when fighting in a duel we can be certain that our opponent will be immobilized for quite some time.
Blinding Light – runic skill for Wave of Light, the effectiveness of this skill is directly linked to your critical hit chance, so a small crit. percentage will decrease the rune’s efficiency.
Penitent Flame – runic skill for Breath of Heaven, an AoE skill adding a 1.5 sec fear effect to enemies.
Sunburst – runic skill for Cyclone Strike, changes the damage from holy to fire and has a 35% chance of striking fear into enemies; the larger cost is recompensed by a bigger AoE and lack of cooldown.
Vulture Claw Kick – runic skill for Lashing Tail Kick, deals 220% fire damage and knocks back enemies around the monk, provided there aren’t any obstacles behind them.
Sweeping Armada – runic skill for Lashing Tail Kick, increases the knockback distance and slows the enemies down, but it works only forward and not around like the previous one.
Soaring Skull – runic skill for Dashing Strike; the slow effect the same as with Tempest Rush the difference is that the latter knocks enemies back, while Dashing Strike roots them. Each of the two has their benefits, depending on the situation.
Hand of Ytar – runic skill for Lashing Tail Kick; a large range, good against a single target, despite the high Spirit point cost.
Flurry – runic skill for Tempest Rush; a severe slow effect of 80%, but I don’t see it used much in PvP.
Tsunami – runic skill for Crippling Wave; great skill overall, quite a big range, generates Spirit energy, is an area ability, and reduces enemy attack speed.
Sanctified Ground – runic skill for Inner Sanctuary; one of the more severe slow effects in the monk’s arsenal.
Dishearten – runic skill for Mantra of Conviction; large AoE, those of you who remember the paladin’s Aura of Holy Freeze from ‘Diablo 2’ will feel right at home with this ability.
Water Ally – runic skill for Mystic Ally, seams a cool skill, because of the area slow effect; what I’m wondering is if we will be able to summon it in a certain distance from our character e.g. in a middle of an enemy group.
You will, of course, encounter situations where you are yourself incapacitated; a good choice would be to consider the Serenity skill or the Perseverance rune for the Mantra of Evasion, the former granting immunity and the latter shortening the duration of impairing effects.
There is speculation that while using the Seven-Sided Strike ability, the monk will not be susceptible to enemy attacks.
What makes the Monk stand out from the character classes is the large number of healing skills. Here are the pros and cons of each of them
Breath of Heaven + Circle of Life rune
The rune increases the amount of Life regained, this ability, unfortunately has a 15 sec cooldown period as well as a limited range of 12 yards. Soothing Breeze
A rune for the Cyclone strike, healing 1240 Life points in a 24 yard radius. Not much considering the high cost of 50 Spirit points; also the lack of cooldown cannot be recognized as an asset considering the expenditure. Safe Haven
A runic sill for the Inner Sanctuary, it creates a defensive circle around the monk impassable for enemies and heals anyone within. The short duration may be considered as an advantage, if not for the small radius of 10 yards. I recommend using it only as a complement to the basic skill. Only, who’ll want to stand around in one place for 5 seconds? Boon of Protection
Before the changes this was the best spell in this category, both healing and soaking damage. When activated it surrounds the monk and their allies with a shield that absorbs up to 15% of each target's maximum Life in damage. Peaceful Repose
A rune for the Serenity skill, it heals the monk, while the skill absorbs damage. It’s a good ability for critical situations. Unfortunately, soak, healing and debuff removal affects only the monk, so for any team battle you may be forced to chose the Tranquility rune. Reclamation
A rune for Mantra of Conviction. The monk and their allies have 30% chance to be healed by a small amount when using melee attacks on an enemy under the effects of the Mantra. Transcendence
When utilizing Spirit points in combat, the monk is healed for some Life per every Spirit point used. Near Death Experience
‘When receiving fatal damage, you are instead restored to 35% of maximum Life and 35% Spirit. This effect cannot occur more than once every 90 seconds.’
According to Blizzard, speed and mobility are the core features of the monk, who possesses several skills connected with them. The character can hasten themselves and slow down their opponents in many ways other than the aforementioned Dashing Strike.
According to the newest information the maximum movement speed bonus is 25%. When reaching level 10 the monk receives the Fleet Footed ability, which should be sufficient at the beginning of the game. Another way is to use the Deadly Reach skill for each third attack, granting a range of 25 yards. Unfortunately, as we know from Blizzcon 2011, this sort of attack is not effective in PvP. One could also use the Wind Through the Reeds rune for the Mantra of Evasion, increasing movement speed by 5%.
Sometimes even a dash would seem too slow in a given situation, therefore we are provided with the Sudden Assault and Thunderclap runes, instantly relocating the monk next to their target. In the all too frequent situation when facing multiple enemies we can utilize the Cyclone Strike with a rune especially suited for this kind of assault, mainly Implosion , with its 34 yard range; but don’t be fooled, it still is a reach.
Slowing the Enemy Down
As I mentioned earlier the monk is able to slow down their enemies. Ideal tools for that are the Tsunami and Dishearten runes with a range of 17 and 20 yards respectively.
Many skills and runes from the monk’s arsenal, allow the Holy warrior to quickly close the distance between them and their enemies or make a hasty retreat in case of trouble. You would do good to remember that there will be times when your character will be under a slow effect themselves; a good counter for this state is the aforementioned Serenity or the runic Perseverance, the former dispelling the effect and the former shortening its duration.
Tricks for PvP
Ncd posted an interesting way for a near immortal team, immune to any damage for virtually 50% of the time, on the szaolin.pl blog, a trick more suited for PvE but worth mentioning nonetheless. For it to work, we need a good synch between four monk team members, with 2 key abilities each.
Tranquility – a rune with the Serenity skill, affecting every team member for two sec,
Beacon of Ytar – a passive skill reducing cooldown on Tranquility by 15%, that is from 20 to 17 sec.
Add to that four different Mantras or damage reducing abilities like:
Circle of Protection – a rune with Inner Sanctuary,
Divine Protection – a rune with Mantra of Evasion,
or any other defensive abilities and the whole team will be virtually untouchable.
Denying Access to Health Globes
In October 2011 I got the idea how to cleverly utilize the Inner Sanctuary in PvP. The monk player could use it to block places where the Health Globes spawn, preventing the enemy team from healing themselves. I myself can’t wait to test this method.
That’s it for now.
Note that many of the strategies presented here may become invalid, when the game comes out, and many more could start making sense when we’ll learn more about the game and specific items.
See you in-game!
The author of the szaolin.pl blog – Diablo 3 though the monk's eyes.
Valkemen 2012-04-23 21:49