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--Current as of 1/30/2014--
Updated for 1.0.8
NOTE: The Reaper of Souls leaked patch notes suggest some major changes to monk spirit generators including adding Thunderclap's teleport to all runes of FoT!!
Hello dear reader, unfortunately, I have a lot to say on this subject. Soooo...
Fist of Thunder:Thunder Clap/Quickening are the best spirit generators, all other generators should be enhanced to meet FoT's standards.
Actually want to read some stuff? Here goes!
I have been playing Monk since release. On day 1, ~10-15 minutes into my play I got my very first rune; Thunderclap.
Since that time, I have occasionally tried other spirit gens, but nothing compares.
This is a serious issue and the stats on http://diablo.somepage.com/popular/monk really exemplify the problem. ~90% of monks use FoT compared to ~20% for Way of the Hundred Fists (almost exclusively to buff FoT) and <10% for each of the other spirit gens. Furthermore, 5 of the top 5 builds use FoT:TC.
I truly believe that increasing the diversity of our spirit generators would lead to feeling like there are "different" playstyles out there instead of the "hold left click with passives active" style or the "spam bells while holding left click" style.
Does this mean that there are no successful monks out there using something other than FoT:TC? No. It just means FoT:TC is the best thing we have.
In 1.0.7, Blizzard drastically increased the damage on many spirit spenders. This caused FoT:Quickening to become competitive with FoT:Thunderclap. YAY DIVERSITY .............. <Sigh>
It is very important to note that I am pretty happy with the power of monks currently. This means a serious nerf to FoT:TC/Q would be hugely detrimental to monks as a whole and should NOT be considered when looking for ways to balance Spirit Generators.
Instead, I am going to propose changes, some based on math, some based on flights of fancy, that should bring many of our other spirit generators up to FoT:TC/Q's level and provide interesting enough choices that people might actually make different specs. Some of these changes might be completely overpowered; theorycrafting with myself doesn't always yield the best results.
If you think something would be over/underpowered or would break some spec I haven't heard of in some way, please argue it out with me!
Note1: Table of Contents (yup this is needed now)
Note2: This is a VERY comprehensive spreadsheet with all the data you could ever want on each Spirit Generator.
Note3: This is a good visual example of "yards" in Diablo 3.
Edited by Druin#1518 on 1/30/2014 3:51 PM PST
1. Fist of Thunder
This will be a controversial change but I have thought a LOT about it and I think this is the only way to make any non-TC rune viable.
As it stands, FoT is too short ranged and too limited in its hit-box to effectively dps compared to other Spirit Gens and the Teleport is part of what makes TC so useful.
Furthermore, in an ARPG, fluidity and speed of combat = fun. FoT:TC's teleport currently adds this element to a class severely lacking in "fun."
Adding the Teleport function to all FoT runes will allow them to compete on their merits and not on their lack of basic monk-utility.
We are trying to balance things against this rune, so it needs no change.
1b. Lightning Flash
This may seem like a huge increase, however, Deadly Reach:Keen Eye currently increases Armor (an arguably better stat) by 50%.
Dodge is more "offensive" as it proccs backlash but it also reduces less damage types than armor (reflects, molten ... ect.) so setting it at 50% (obviously multiplicative as all dodge buffs are) would at least allow this rune to compete with Keen Eye.
1c. Static Charge
I have, since the writing of this Review, done EXTENSIVE testing of Static Charge and found it to be competitive with Thunderclap in its current form. However, it is only competitive in a VERY niche sense and outside the realm of "useful" for most monks. My initial proposal to extend the debuff to 30s is perhaps a bit much, but it is the correct idea. The change to a longer (10s) debuff opens the skill up to scale with Attack Speed better (get that debuff on more monsters!) and allows for more "ease of use" compared to Thunderclap's "extremely EZMODE" playstyle.
TL:DR - I think Static Charge suffers more from difficulty of use than actual mathematical deficit and my 10s debuff duration would help fix this while SLIGHTLY increasing its overall effectiveness.
In patch 1.0.7 Blizz increased the damage of many spirit spenders and this caused Quickening to suddenly become competitive with Thunderclap in terms of damage. (It still has MUCH worse utility without the Teleport so this should be addressed)
1e. Bounding Light
This skill should be competitive with Thunderclap for damage but in different situations.
The proposed change is intended to make Bounding Light do slightly more damage when hitting 3 or 4 monsters. However, because the chain lighting can travel much farther than Thunderclap's 6yd radius, you are much more likely to actually hit those monsters.
Note: It is VERY hard for me to tell what effect losing the knockback would have ... it is possible the skill will need to do even MORE damage in order to make up for this.
See Apendix A. (6th post) for the math that led me to these numbers!
Edited by Druin#1518 on 1/30/2014 3:43 PM PST
2. Deadly Reach
This would make DR actually generate the most spirit / sec by a tiny fraction.
2a. Piercing Trident
This is a boring fix, but this should be the skill to use if you enjoy the DR playstyle but just want more dps out of it. It would essentially be like CW Mangle but you are trading some defense and AoE for range.
2b. Keen Eye
There are a lot of items in the game with Adds +x% to <elemental> damage skills. The monk could use some of this synergy to promote alternate builds.
With the change made to how this skill works it is nearly impossible to use correctly unless it is your ONLY spirit gen. The buff needs to be extended so that it can be used in combination with other spirit gens.
2c. Scattered Blows
Rhyse pointed out that the increased attack speed on the third hit of SB makes it a fairly high DPS rune.
The proposed changes are there to provide some unique effect. The double hit would make SB do BY FAR the most single target damage of all Spirit Gens but it would only do so in a TRUE single target situation. This could provide a unique playstyle that promotes "single-out and destroy" tactics.
Switching the entire skill to lighting damage instead of just the third hit allows it to benefit from Won Khim Lao.
This skill is almost good enough as is, giving it something unique would make it playable.
2d. Strike from Beyond
These changes are minimal and I believe SfB is almost usable right now.
The change is aimed at making it just slightly more valuable so that you can consider it over FoT:Quickening.
(Might need to change it to 15 spirit per crit to keep up)
There are a lot of items in the game with Adds +x% to <elemental> damage skills. The monk could use some of this synergy to promote alternate builds.
This skill is currently used in conjunction with FoT + combo strike for a large DPS boost to the standard FoT build. The increased buff timer will not effect this build at all.
It is ALSO used as a damage buff for Spirit SPENDER builds. Because these builds don't really want to auto attack, the increased buff timer would help them out. (and they NEED help!)
Edited by Druin#1518 on 1/30/2014 3:41 PM PST
3. Crippling Wave
Currently, this skill only sees use for people in groups looking to be a cyclone bot or people who are progressing and also doing so VERY slowly and thus using it as a "tanking" method.
I would, ideally, like to see this kill get some use as a main-build gen.
The idea here is that you are "mangling" your enemies and causing them to bleed out. A stacking DoT fits CW's overall "stand and tank" mentality and provides a different damage structure than a FLAT damage increase. You would have to choose whether or not you want more damage upfront (FoT:TC or WotHF:FoF) or more damage in the long run!
See Apendix B. (6th post) for the math that led me to these numbers!
This is a good tanking skill and if you couple it with the increase in base CW damage it should be okay.
3c. Rising Tide
Again, the base damage increase to CW should help this skill and it is another good candidate for a holy damage mod.
This would remove the requirement for "crit" to generate spirit with this generator. It would also continue to reward monks for hitting many targets with this clearly AoE designed skill.
Math-wise, you would need 60% crit to gain 3 spirit per target hit with the current skill (5 per crit) so most monks would see greater spirit generation with this change.
This would allow each of the three hits to snare and would be the most "AoE" of the bunch. It would do less damage than Mangle so it isn't a clear winner for DPS boosts.
3e. Breaking Wave
At first this skill seems good, but then it becomes apparent that you will get more overall "increased damage" by running "rising tide" and spamming MoC:Overawe than by just using this skill as-is.
This change is intended to promote this skill as an "overawe for your spirit spenders." If you are using Bells to do damage, you can't spend spirit on Overawe even with Rising Tide. So instead, you use Breaking Wave to make your bells hit like crazy.
Also good for group play.
Edited by Druin#1518 on 1/30/2014 3:44 PM PST
4. Way of the Hundred Fists
Currently this skill has MANY problems that make it sub-optimal to FoT in many ways.
I am proposing quite a few changes here and that is because, currently, this skill is too clunky and cumbersome to be used correctly. The "dash" component is important because, like FoT, WotHF is a point blank melee skill and requires some movement aid to help the monk feel like a monk. However, the attack speed animation on the first hit is FAR too slow to make the dash even remotely comparable to FoT:TC's blink.
To fix this, I am increasing the attack speed of the first hit, to compensate, the damage per hit must go down and the spirit per hit must go down.
The increase in proc-coefficient on the second hit is to give it a slightly better "feel" when interacting with skills like SW:Cyclone.
4a. Hands of Lighting
You would also gain a DPS increase on the second hit from 7 x 18 = 126% to 10 x 18 = 180%. This is a VERY large increase in damage.
This overall change would increase the viability of Hands of Lightning, especially for a proc-based build! (the damage is just icing on the cake)
4b. Blazing Fists
For many end-game builds, BF is actually competitive with DR:Foresight as a buff mod to your primary attack. Increasing the stack duration would allow people who want to use the movement speed component of the skill to actually gain some benefit from it.
4c. Fists of Fury
Currently (1.0.7), you can use WotHF:FoF in conjunction with Breath of Heaven: Infused With Light to gain "infinite" spirit for a short period of time. This can be used to spam spirit spenders FAR more than would usually be the case. Unless this is confirmed as a bug, I am not going to propose a change because it's an awesome build.
For more on this build, see Fitz's fantastic write-up here: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/8414571665
4d. Spirited Salvo
4e. Windforce Flurry
This makes the skill do, on average, 176% weapon damage per hit.
This is similar in DPS to other "big damage" skills but gives you a new way to get there.
Edited by Druin#1518 on 1/30/2014 3:45 PM PST
————————————————[ APPENDICES ]———————————————
——————————[ Bounding Light vs Thunderclap MATH ]—————————
Here is a link to a fully explanatory Google Docs spreadsheet that shows how FoT:TC vs FoT:BL compare when hitting 1-10 enemies.
It is hard to correctly predict how the chain lighting's larger range will effect its normal-use dps and pps but I have tailored the numbers to reflect at least SOME improved dps efficiency from t he Chain Light compared to Thunderclap's AoE.
————————————[ Mangle vs Thunderclap MATH ]———————————
Here is a link to a fully explanatory Google Docs spreadsheet that shows how FoT:TC vs CW:Mangle look after switching it to a stacking DoT and then tweaking the numbers as I suggest.
My numbers in this spreadsheet at based on my proposed changes to the base skill of CW:
Increase base damage to 143%.
———[ Graphs and Math regarding FoT:TC vs. WotHF (3 damage runes) ]———
DAMAGE SCALING SIMULATION TESTS
———————————[ Proposed WotHF:FoF Changes ]———————————
Proposed Changes: Remove DoT component. Change damage from 126% on each hit to 196% -> 133% -> 133%. Double the distance covered by WotHF's teleport on first strike.
Explanation: This change would make FoF into a much more aggressive rune. You would use it if you wanted to be in the face of monsters all the time and it would strongly focus on the first of the 3 hits which would allow some synergy between LTK knockback (and combo reset) into WotHF teleport punch over and over!
—————————————————[ THANKS ]—————————————————
1. Thank you to the monk community. You have been extremely supportive not only of my ideas but of the community's ideas as a whole.
I wouldn't love my monk NEARLY as much if it weren't for you guys!
2. Special thanks to Strikerdude for doing SO much work on this thread. He has testing things, he has called me out for saying crazy stuff and he has made graphs!
3. Special thanks to Mogram who plugged this thread in a PTR forum list and got a blue to respond to it! Having a blue actually link this post and say "yup, I am looking at that" was validation for all the work it took to make ... thanks man!
4. Thanks to all the people who "upvoted" this thread and got it to "highly rated" status. This is just another benchmark in what I see as a clear path to positive change! You guys are seriously the best!
Edited by Druin#1518 on 4/2/2013 12:43 PM PDT
You obviously put a lot of thought into this.
I had to re-read the entire thing 5 times over as you were posting the different parts.
Numbers crunching/balancing aside, these are some amazing ideas here. I love fists of thunder thunderclap simply because it is FUN. All these ideas here seem like fun as well and would make them very viable alternatives.
The Dev team should take some notes.
You obviously put a lot of thought into this.
Sorry about the reposting thing, I thought it would make for easier reading for those to come.
I agree completely that FoT:TC is really fun and I would like to see that elsewhere in our possible builds!
I really hope the devs take a look,Monks seem to get the shaft every patch so far,and notes on 1.05 seem to continue this trend.. Monks by far my favorite character ( I have 2 at L60),more like the old Martial Arts assassin build from D2 than anything else I could compare it to,melee is just FUN!
I've tried barbs,got a tank DH and Wizard,but they're just not nearly as much fun as just smashing
mobs to pieces,(especially while dual wielding like the old Assassin) and they REALLY deserve a buff to virtually all skills,except FoT.... and the passives? meh,weakest set of any class, could use a lot of work there too :(
All other classes seem to have gotten buffs with the patches,time for the Monks to get what they deserve!!
Not sure what forum you should post this so the dev team can take a look, someone from blizzard should take a look...you've made some excellent suggestions for improving our spirit generators...
I tried Deadly Reach (Keen Eye) a long time ago and couldn't wait to switch back to my FoT...something must be done (not a daym nerf...that seems to be their only solution EVER)...they should improve the other skills so they do appear more enticing and diverse in nature (from FoT) so to give us more options that we can choose based on our preferences.
I was going to do a comprehensive review on every Monk skill after 1.05 was released, but it looks like you beat me to this one! So I'm just going to comment here and make some suggestions.
First off, I've used every one of these spirit generators when testing new builds, so there's a lot more going on here than you might think. It's important to know that the spirit generators can have different purposes. These are the three:
1. Direct Attack Damage (I want to my spirit generator attack to deal damage)
2. Spirit Generation (I want to use my spirit generator to generate as much Spirit as possible so that I can more freely use my Spirit spender skills)
3. Effect (I want to use my spirit generator for its special effect)
Before judging any given spirit generator, you need to look at the whole picture first. What is the spirit generator's purpose? What is my overall gameplay strategy? What kind of setup do I need to bring the best out of my combo of skills? Will my spirit generator work as the main skill or as a support skill? Only after answering these questions can you truly judge a spirit generator (and any other skill for that matter).
With that said, I'll have to disagree with the main premise of your post:
This statement simply isn't true. FoT/TC is a very good spirit generator, but it's NOT the best spirit generator in a lot of situations. Let's see why.
1. Direct Attack Damage
FoT/TC does not deal the most damage in both single target and AOE situations. In fact, WotHF (especially Blazing Fists and Fists of Fury) deals the most damage against single targets, while CW (especially Mangle and Tsunami) deals the most damage for AOE. These two spirit generators can have their attack damage enhanced even further by using good positioning. WotHF combos well with Dashing Strike, while Crippling Wave combos well with Cyclone Strike. These combos help to hit the maximum number of targets possible.
2. Spirit Generation
FoT/TC definitely does not generate the most spirit per attack. Any rune used for spirit generation will beat FoT/TC on this. FoT/Quickening, DR/Strike From Beyond and CW/Rising Tide are all superior to FoT/TC for spirit generation, with each one being extremely good with the proper support skills. (Admittedly, WotHF/Spirited Salvo is the weakest generator and needs a buff.)
This is where FoT/TC really shines. FoT/TC has three main effects at its disposal: engaging teleport, knockback, and high proc rate. The engaging teleport allows you to immediately engage the enemy and is very powerful as an offensive move. This is very useful in pursuing fast enemies and attacking spread out mobs. FoT/TC has great synergy with LTK/Vulture Claw Kick and LTK/Sweeping Armada because you can play defensively using a divide-and-conquer strategy, or play offensively by knocking single targets into the corner and pummeling them with impunity.
BUT! The real power of FoT/TC lies in its high proc rate. This one effect is why everyone refers to this spirit generator as "the best." It is this property that gives the Monk's cookie-cutter build its power. Offensively, you can proc SW/Cyclone to do large amounts of damage for BOTH single targets and wide area AOE (SW/Cyclone is just that ridiculously good!) Defensively, you can stack a lot of defensive skills and proc LoH for efficient and fast HP recovery, making this the most popular sustain strategy for Monks.
If you don't believe me, try playing the cookie-cutter build, but swap out SW/Cyclone for SW/Blade Storm, and drop your LoH to about 25% of its current value. You will find out that FoT/TC becomes MUCH weaker when you can't take advantage of its high proc rate.
FoT/TC is NOT the best spirit generator unto itself. It's SW/Cyclone + LoH fueled by FoT/TC procs that is extremely powerful.
Edited by strikerdude#1306 on 9/22/2012 2:56 PM PDT
I am not trying to say that FoT:TC is "the best" entirely because of it's proc rate. That is definitely a big part of it. However, it currently does the "best" because of its ability to do very well in all the fields.
It actually does do the most DPS against a single target mob (145% - 145% - 110% damage per hit at the fastest attack speed).
This is higher than WotHF:Blazing Fists (140% per hit at lower attack speed, even with the 15% increase).
This is WAY higher than WotHF:FoF (140% per hit at slow attack speed).
It absolutely does less damage to multiple targets, but, not THAT much less.
It does 35% > 35% > 110% to targets in front of you in roughly the same area as WotHF.
Again, it attacks MUCH faster than everything else so it ends up doing nearly the same if not more than CW (110% 110% 110%) and a fair amount less than WotHF.
Note: I agree, CW is better for true-aoe. I would always use CW:Rising Tide in a Cyclone Strike build over FoT:TC. Though, the loss in single target dps is staggering.
Then, when it comes to spirit generation, it is not THE BEST. That would probably go to Quickening. However, using a purely spirit gen rune is 100%, flat out, sub-optimal at this time. If you can show me a spec that can compete in clear speed with the cookie-cutter build using a spirit gen rune instead of TC, I will reconsider.
When compared to other spirit generating attacks, on the other hand, FoT:TC is amazing. It generates spirit much more quickly than DR and CW and a bit faster than WotHF.
Note: the teleport in FoT:TC actually leads to better spirit gen as you spend far less time not hitting mobs.
Finally, as you stated, it is the absolute winner when it comes to procs / second.
Note: If you think WotHF:FoF has a better proc rate because of the chart, just try it out, it very clearly does not proc more Tornadoes.
In conclusion, the reason FoT:TC is the best spirit gen is not because it is the best in every single field. It is the best because it is VERY good in every single field AND the best in two.
Again, you don't even have to look at my arguments. Just refer to the fact that 100% of the top monks in the world use FoT:TC and 76% of ALL monks use FoT.
These numbers don't represent people being sheep, they represent people recognizing that there is one spirit gen that is better than all the rest and then using it.
Edited by Druin#1518 on 10/11/2012 9:35 AM PDT
Good post. Might not agree with everything but i definately think spirit gens need work. too bad in 1.04 blizz stated they were happy with them,. O wait they were happy with monk class too it seems becuase the templar got more work.
Seems they are happy with the monk being the class that is Locked into one spirit generator. one build.
Good to see people thinking.
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