Join Date: Mar 2007
In Depth Monk Analysis
Greetings fellow monks. I just wanted to toss up a post regarding some of my concerns regarding the Monk class. I have been playing Vanguard since Beta 2 and have experience with all the classes up to a minimum of level 15 which raises my concern for class balancing. I've recently obtained level 40 on the Shidreth server as a Harmonious Monk. My character's name is Fusoya if any of you would like to reach me regarding the monk class.
-I have brief knowledge of Dragon and Drunken monks, but will try to include their issues within my post as I feel the monk class as a whole is due for attention.
Stances - First and foremost I believe at this point most monks have found the stance choices a matter of fighting in the stance which has the least affect on their character, rather then the one with the most benefit. The benefits do not out weigh the penalties associated with them. The recent 2 second cooldown removes the aspect of stance stepping in combat, which I felt was a big part of the class up until now. (This excludes the "Jin Hack" that was obtainable by spamming Harmonious Body Stance, which was clearly a bug)
Harmonious Monks -- Stances don't provide much of a benefit post 40. Once the most evasive discipline (arguably the best for high end pulling) has been negated significantly.
- Harmonious Body Stance - After the recent patch, this stance basically negates the decay of Jin points after five seconds of activation. Taking into account the out of combat Jin decay, you will generate roughly 1 Jin every minute it is active. The major plus to this stance is...it has no negative affect on you. Doesn't really provide any benefit aside from not worrying about decay between fights. Perhaps making this a passive ability for Harmonious monks, active at all times may be helpful.
- Eternal Crane - This stance scales its penalty as you level. Starting at a 25% damage reduction, eventually down to 0% at level 50. Before the evasive changes implemented it provided a 25% bonus to dodge, parry, and block. Block was removed from the monk skill list, and the dodge and parry have been reduced to a +8% bonus (which is usually not fully utilized due to stacking issues with Aum's and buffs). It also provides a 25% reduction to endurance costs. Looking at my future skills I was greatly looking forward to Aum Ti (20% endurance cost reduction and 5% parry), in hopes of stacking the endurance reductions and providing myself with abilties at 55% of base cost. Only to begin chanting the Aum and find out that the reduction to endurance costs does not stack, making this stance obsolete starting at level 40. An easy fix would be to allow stacking of the two reductions and avoidance, as well as increasing the overall percent of avoidance provided.
- Magnificent Tiger - Increases your critical chance by 20% and scaling up as you level, while increasing endurance by 50% (penalty does not scale down with level). This stance is very useful when using Jin attacks but removes a big part of the Harmonious playstyle, which is use as many attacks between your Jin pool and endurance bar as possible before haulting. I have this stance macro'ed to my Ashen Hand (/combatformset "Magnificent Tiger" /cast "Ashen Hand V", then all of my other endurance related abilities macro'ed back to Harmonious or Crane stance) but this has been reduced in efficiency by the two second cooldown now associated with stance stepping as you will often be stuck waiting for stance cooldown when your endurance abilities are ready to be executed. The biggest issue with this stance is a problem with the crit bonus stacking with buffs, gear, and weapon types. It appears to have the 25% added before other crit rating modifiers are factored in. With heavy +% crit and dex gear, along with buffs almost no benefit is noticable from switching to this stance. A suggestion for this stance would be fix the stacking issues, remove or reduce the cooldown on stance stepping, and scale the endurance cost penalty down minorly as the monk levels.
Drunken Monks -- The path chosen for off-tanking monks, as well as pullers who can take a beating, however both aspects have been almost completely removed.
- Drunken Fist Stance - 10% damage increase, while generating 25% more aggro. This stance is clearly for soloing or tanking in groups as you will compete with tanks for aggro if used. Monk tanking after the evasion revamp has become a thing of the past for a group killing anything higher then two dots, and certain three dot mobs. This stance saw use before the evasion patch, and allowed the monks to function as an off-tank for groups. Since then, it only offers most groups a mana drain. A possible fix to this stance would be switching the damage modifier with a damage reduction or avoidance modifier, allowing drunken monks to perform the role of off-tank once again.
- Drunken Master Stance - 10% attack speed increase and 5% dodge increase. This stance provides monks with the least amount of penalty for using the stance, but provides no real benefit other then 5% dodge. Currently monks damage, haste, and weapon type have little to no affect on 90% of the abilities used in normal combat (Will discuss this issue more later). A fix for this would be adding a set amount of damage to all abilities rather then haste (or making haste affect monk abilites) and increasing the percentage of avoidance gained.
- Drunken Sway Stance - 10% to dodge, but 10% less accurate. This stance has seen perhaps the most extreme effect from the evasion changes. Almost everyone can agree that 10% is not worth a 10% reduction to accuracy simply because the two do not scale equally. A mob will gain more benefit from you missing 10% of the time, then you will see from +10% to dodge (once again 10% increase is usually not completely obtained). A possible fix for this stance would be to increase the evasion provided, possibly add a percentage boost to all damage dealt while in this stance, and significantly reduce the accuracy penalty as well as scaling it down as the monk levels.
Dragon -- This was viewed as the "DPS" discipline for monks at the expense of endurance, as well as the AoE route for monks. To increase your overall damage from this discipline you end up sacrificing variation and enjoyment for slightly increased damage. Since the evasion patch the functionality of AoE'ing in most situations has been removed.
Dragon Stance - Provides health regen out of combat. This stance provides no benefit during combat and the amount of regen isn't comparable to that gained by food. It's greatest appeal would be for monks who have Feigned Death, but remain in combat with not much health left, giving them a chance to regain some health and allow them another chance to Feign Death. In combat regen from a fix of this ability may provide an advantage soloing, but I'm sure most monks would just like to see this stance replaced completely.
Stone Dragon - Improves the monks armor scaling in level and adding resistances, while reducing attack speed. The armor gained has very little impact on the reduction in damage taken, the penalty for attack speed has little or no affect on the damage output of the monk. This stance doesn't seem to have much impact either way. Possibly reduce a flat percentage of incoming damage, or provide a percentage of resist to stuns, roots, snares and change the penalty to a reduction in run speed or percentage of outbound damage.
Storm Dragon - Lightning damage proc in exchange for an increased decay rate of Jin. This stance does increase the overall damage output of monks, but seems to take the fun and variation out of the monk class.
Ignore Pain - Currently this ability is only healing for at best two-thirds of its intended health (according to amount shown by the trainer). Like many other classes have witnessed, some abilities are being attached to skills such as alteration which are not available to them, therefore reducing the intended affect. It would appear as if this was the case for Ignore Pain. Even when using ranks of this ability far outdated, it is not providing the full effect. Another concern for this ability, is the loss of functionality as raid gear (health bars) is obtained. I would love to see this line of abilities switched to a flat percentage of health that scales with rank (ex. 20%, 25%, 30%), rather then set amounts of health. Another popular concern regarding Ignore Pain is the cooldown of five minutes. In order to provide more functionality a more reasonable cooldown should be implemented.
Boundless Fist - Previously all the other melee classes (both heavy and light) had their percentage based attack damage significantly increased. However, because Boundless Fist was desiged as 'weapon damage plus x damage' rather then '100% weapon damage plus x damage' I feel this ability has been overlooked and therefore scaled down in comparison to equivalent abilities of other melee classes.
Thousand Fists and Thundering Fists - Monks heavily rely on chains for their overall damage output. The fist line of finishers costs 27 endurance and has a 1 minute cooldown, while the kick line costs is 10 endurance and no cooldown. To earn a one minute cooldown and nearly triple endurance cost, the Fist line damage needs to be significantly increased to be considered usable by monks.
Waning Palm - Currently can only be used on a defensive target when they are the primary target of the mob you are attempting to lower their threat on. It still has situational use, but should be considered for changing to any defensive target, to help prevent others from stealing aggro in the first place. It should also be usuable on the monk themselves, to provide an alternate to Feign Death for aggro management.
Deadly Adder Hand - Extremely high endurance cost without scaling damage, the higher the monk levels the less effective it becomes. I realize the main function of this ability is the STR debuff portion which does scale with level, but feel the duration should be increased and remove the damage altogether or have the damage scale with levels. The damage of this ability at any level seems a bit low.
Secret of Flames - Needs an upgrade in damage as well as changing the ability from percentage of damage dealt to direct fire based proc, to allow monks some effectiveness against mobs resistant to melee damage. Increased duration, in exchange for increased cooldown or cost.
Secret of Ice - Increase in duration. Change to check cold resist, rather then applying a percentage of melee damage.
Secret of Celerity - Increase in duration. Reduction of cooldown and fix the ability to actually double the attack rather then slightly increase the damage dealt. Reduce Jin cost slightly.
Secret of Transcendance - Slightly reduce Jin cost.
Divine Typhoon - Reduce cooldown to allow multiple chances of triggering AoE chains.
Diamond Body - Thirty minute cooldown for a two minute duration is quite excessive. Monks mainly use this ability to remove an ability while pulling to a group to remove a single affliction, as they usually have a group member capable of removing it when they are with the group. Cooldown should be significantly reduced as well as the duration. A single cleansing of afflictions for a much shorter refresh timer would provide greater utility.
Wave Hand in Cloud - This ability has mostly functioned as a last resort, its current Jin cost of ten excludes it from many of its practical uses. An alternative would be reducing the cooldown to provide functionality for AoE'ing.
Pushing Hands - Pushing opponents out of stance has come in handy, but only a small percentage of mobs use stances most resort to buffs that provide similiar benefits. Perhaps allow this ability to remove mitigation or avoidance buffs from a mob temporarily.
Nerve Strike - Currently this ability is broken by Psionicist AoE mez as well as many other minor AoE debuffs. With a 30 second cooldown, these make monks less dependable as a crowd control option in groups. This ability should be broken upon damage, to keep it in line with other classes mezmerize capabilities, or atleast make it less sensitive to certain debuffs.
Aum Liat - After the horse movement buff speed changes, monks should be granted a Five percent increase to mounted speed while chanting to keep in line with other classes movement buffs.
Aum Ti - Many stacking issues. The five percent to parry does not grant the full amount. The twenty percent reduction to endurance costs does not stack with Eternal Crane, putting harmonious monks at a big disadvantage.
Aum Kor - Ten percent to melee haste has no real affect on the overall damage output of skills.
Pulling - Many changes are still being done with mob pathing and pull mechanics, but would like to address a few problems I have come across to make sure they are known.
-After the recent fix to mob warping, mobs return to their spawn points immediately when aggro is cleared. This has completely changed the system in which monks are accustomed to pulling. The easiest way for monks to split mobs in a timely fashion is to run up to the mob and Feign Death in front of it before casting Nerve Strike on it. Then standing up aggroing the add(s) and bringing them back to the group. As mobs begin to hit harder and harder, this becomes a risky task, mixed in with failures on Feign Death and the severe reduction to monk avoidance causes us to become a mana sponge while providing the role of puller. I fear monks are losing their functionality as pullers. Lull has become the prefered method of choice and is available to a wide variety of classes. With the newly added reduction to mob aggro from resisted lull's Feign pulling may soon become a thing of the past. Removing yet another of the quickly fading appeals that monks once had.
The current system for calculating monks damage has almost impact on the weapons which they have equiped, outside of stats and critical hit rating. For many monks, they focus on kicks and low endurance cost abilities which are set damage, and are not impacted by weapon damage. This mainly concerns me for high end content, where other classes will be recieving lengendary weapons increasing their damage significantly, while monks will be capped by this factor. The combat system involving monks needs to be analyzed before it is abandoned by its fading community. Weapons that add base damage to all kicks or hits in general need to be implemented, or the formula for strength should influence the way weapon damage influences non-percentage based abilities. The most exciting part of playing a melee class is receiving new weapons, having it have no affect on your character is quite discouraging.
It appears that the current system of haste has no affect on melee damage not only for monks, but across the boards. It increases the swing rate of auto attack which is hardly a fraction of overall damage output. As with monk weapons, haste should increase the DPS of weapons, therefore increasing the overall damage dealt by abilities.
This seems to be one of the major topics of discussion for the monk community. Vanguard is not a game in which soloing is encouraged. In groups, it is a light fighters role to remain below the tank on the hate list. With these two things in mind, what role do counter-attacks play for monks? The endurance cost of counter attacks is greater then that of normal abilities which provide greater damage and are usuable at any time. As a harmonious monk, debuffs are a big part of the discipline, unfortunately most of these debuffs are triggered counter attacks. The concept of reaction abilities is a big step away from click and AFK MMO's, but needs some rethinking in regards to offensive fighters. Perhaps allowing other classes the chance to perform a counter attack after a groupmate performs the required evasive manuver. Or providing an ability that activated counter attack abilities without being the main focus of the mob.
-- My main focus of this thread was to include the idea that Monks as a class have seen some dramatic changes since their creation in Vanguard. I do not wish for monks to be the best tanks, highest dps, and sole pullers in Vanguard. I also realize every class has many bugs that need attention, and everyone feels their class is in need of fixing. I merely wanted to express some of my concerns regarding the class I have chosen. I know much of the monk community is disapointed in the dramatic changes that have occured regarding our class, and we hope that Sigil realizes they are taking away the aspects of Monk that made us decide to play one. Even within the class, the disciplines we have chosen to follow. I hope that perhaps this draws some attention to the stances, abilities and issues that much of the monk community is troubled by. And after changes are made, allow those monks who wish to change their discipline path the chance to do so. They are no longer what they were when the path was chosen.
Thank you, whoever has taken the time to read this lengthy post.
Kojani Monk of Shidreth