I’ve played every class to the end of the Diablo III Beta (which is just Act I: The Skeleton King) and am in the process of pushing each to the level cap: 13 (2 down, 3 to go). I’m learning a lot as I go. I’m finding out subtle skill combos (both in terms of active skills and what order you attack in). I’m finding lovely little items and I’m having a blast.
I’m going to continue the introductory look at the classes today. The star of this article will be: The Monk.
The first thing that I noticed when starting a Monk was the voice. Their accent (both male and female) cracks me up. You’ll see what I mean when you get to play! Ahem, moving on.
A Diablo 3 Monk is a melee class, for the most part. The Monk is the only class with a direct ‘healing’ skill and other spells, like mantras (Paladin auras basically) that support. In this way the monk is a bit like the World of Warcraft Paladin (my first ever class in WoW) but the similarities quickly stop.
The Witchdoctor (featured in my Diablo III Beta Classes: Witch Doctor article) had a simple and familiar resource system: Mana. The Monk was the first of the Diablo classes I played with an unfamiliar resource system: Spirit. Using some abilities will regenerate spirit. Using others will spend it. All abilities, bar mantras (which are cooldown based – no cost) fall into those two categories: Spirit Spender and Spirit Generator.
You’ll always be hitting one or the other with no ‘wait to regenerate argh let’s autoattack’ moments. As a result the Monk is a very active play experience. You’re mobile and dynamic and (eventually) durable – but durability comes at a price (more on that later).
The Monk begins the game with knuckles (specifically Fists of Thunder), his comedy accent and a covering of monastic rags. Fists of Thunder generates spirit but you can’t spend it until you reach level 2. At this point you unlock your first spirit spender which is not a damaging skill but a defensive/supporting ability. I’ll be honest, I avoided it. I planned to avoid all damage reduction abilities in the Beta seeing it’s capped at ‘normal’ difficulty.
That didn’t work out so well… what with the dying. I know, I know, dying on normal = sadface, but I told you: I’m no pro gamer! It’s not that the Monk is weak (far from it) it was just that after playing pretty much carefree as a Witchdoctor, I found I adjusted to a new style too slowly.
My Monk at level 7 had two active skill ‘sets’ depending on whether I was solo or in a group. My solo set was dictated by that frequent and uncomfortable dying experience: Fists of Thunder, Deadly Reach and Breath of Heaven. This way I could spam my combos and constantly spend spirit on a heal. I was, in effect, immortal. I think I overcompensated.
My damage suffered as a result of this durability though and it was slow going. I thought I’d try group play (as I mentioned in my article yesterday). It wouldn’t do to look so weak to other players so my group skill set had: Fists of Thunder, Deadly Reach and Lashing Tail Kick. This is a great skill and made me feel like a real Kung Fu Monk. I did dabble with Lethal Decoy, which was even more awesome, but found the spirit cost quite high.
Then a funny thing happened. I was playing alone when a fist item dropped. It was a slight dps improvement over my offhand weapon and so I equipped it. I didn’t read the tooltip fully as I was in a bit of a monster punching rush. I noticed that my Breath of Heaven was healing me for more than usual. This caused me to re-investigate this new find. It was a new item category – Resonant – and the bonus this gave was ‘life per spirit spent’. I immediately recalled to Tristram and swapped to Lashing Kick. I returned to the Cathedral and kicked something hard. I healed myself.
Resonant weapons or items give you hp back based on the amount of spirit points you spend. I was still immortal (basically) but I was healing while kicking zombies in the face. At this point I forgave the Monk for all that dying.
This experience reinforces a few things for me, and anyone who wants to make money in the Diablo III auction house:
- There are items in the game that drop for all but that are designed for one class in particular
- There are items in game that will be far more desirable to particular players
- It’s the successful auctioneer’s job to know each and every one of these (and more)
It’s lucky these Resonant Spikes of the Lion have a higher dps than what I had before or I’d have made a mistake and salvaged or sold them at a far lower price. If you find an item you think is ‘useless’ and are about to salvage it, pause a moment and read the tooltip in detail. Chances are there’s a class out there searching the Diablo III RMAH for it daily. That player will pay real money to improve his gameplay experience!