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Gear defensively first, then offence. High sustain is no substitute for strong defence, but it becomes stronger with strong defence. Aim to put all +armor and AR into armor, leaving jewellery to carry the bulk of the offensive load; be extremely discerning if you decide to buy sets/legendaries and make sure you have appropriate supporting gear for those pieces. Do NOT sacrifice defence for offence until you can farm MP2/3 comfortably -- after which, you have decisions to make about future direction of your monk.
Key Features of my monk when I hit this milestone:
Please note that gear prices have depreciated significantly since writing this guide, and cost to achieve same goal may be at a price MUCH cheaper than what it took for me to get here. I estimate that these same stats can be achieved for less than 25M in gear as of 1.0.7
The reason I put this guide together is that I’ve noticed a lot of “help me” posts in the forums, which indicates to me that there is a demand for knowledge. I've also seen some very bad advice given that is the equivalent of shuffling deck chairs on the titanic for some monks. I have learned a lot in the process of levelling up and building my monk and wanted to put this together in hopes that someone may find this helpful as they are plodding through their upgrades to move their DPS along.
Please note that all of this has been written from my own observations in playing as a monk , from gleaning all kinds of information from the monk forums over the months. It is by no means authoritative, and may not be appropriate for all people. Hang on, it’s a long read broken down into many sections, but I hope you find this useful, and something you can refer back to for help in the future. Forgive me for my wordiness.
Please note that this is not a guide on how to play your monk, or on optimum builds. There are tonnes of posts and suggestions in the monk forums for those. I have some suggestions here and there, but it is not the focus of this guide.
I believe that any monk can achieve the targets stated above with <<<<50M budget if you get by with mostly rares and 1 or 2 legendary or set pieces.
Edited by Nameless#1537 on 9/30/2013 12:24 PM PDT
Why I wrote this guide
In my limited time playing this game, I have seen a lot of junior monks follow advice from well-meaning higher-tier monks. I have seen monks with less than 50K dps sporting legendary and set pieces, and how they are struggling for upgrades. I cringe because they must have spent >100M on their monk, are not very far along in terms of damage output for their monk (or have a glass cannon of a monk) and whose upgrade prices are astronomically high for the kinds of damage output they are sporting.
On my part, I have never used RMAH (nor do I plan to) and I hit 100K dps at ~ paragon 20. I have gotten by purely on the benefit of my own drops (whether I wear them or I sell them in GAH to fund my next purchases), soaking up valuable advice from the forums and thinking critically about the game. I ended up re-tooling my monk for the first time when I hit around 60K dps and I picked up my first usable set piece and followed principles that I outlined in the guide. By the end of the re-tooling, I had gear valued at a total of 25M (some new, some remnants from prior to the re-gearing and not including gems), and had that one item that I found (Inna’s Pants worth about 20M-25M) and I was sitting at 73K dps and ready to make my leaps into 100K dps range. My goal was to hit 100K dps while spending a maximum of 40M (not including gems) and I overspent by 7M.
Who this guide is for
Beginner or mid-tier monks < 100K dps who are struggling to find affordable upgrades. Monks who have limited access to gold. Monks who want to learn the fundamentals of building a monk, who are patient & disciplined and want to build on a budget. Monks who are willing to look for small incremental upgrades on their gear.
Who should avoid this guide
Monks who insist on equipping themselves in as many legendaries and sets as possible, and don’t want to achieve the goal chiefly through the use of rares. Monks who want to show off legendaries and sets, but not interested in building an efficient monk machine at an affordable cost. The suggestions in this guide are likely not going to work for “tank monks” or sword/board monks, as the gearing philosophy is likely different and I cannot speak to that since I have not picked up a shield since I was leveling my monk up to 60.
What you need to start
Minimum gold required to begin could be around <10M, but can be more or less depending on what pieces off of your old monk you plan to keep and want to gear around. This should be able to get you to a minimum of 40K dps and you can build up from there.
Benefits of following principles outlined in this guide
I believe that if you build your monk properly, upgrading will be easier and less costly. Once you have 100K dps with the stats (as listed below), I believe that you’ll be able to play MP4/5 comfortably for more key runs and MP2/3 for easy farming, and then more easily re-balance along the way.
Edited by Nameless#1537 on 3/18/2013 7:15 PM PDT
(0) A Quick Word About Auction House Economy
In a short statement, the introduction of 1.0.5 did a huge number on valuation of jewellery. It devalued jewellery that served as pure DPS increase and instead, added value to jewellery to the new ilvl63 jewellery that incorporates high damage increases and damage mitigation. I need to write this now so as to explain the principles behind the rest of the guide.
In 1.0.4, the general philosophy appeared to be to build a high DPS monk that functions as a glass cannon of sorts and the idea was that monks could kill monsters quickly before they even got close to hurting the monk. And it worked. 150K+ dps with little or no damage mitigation made farming A3 simple and uber monks got bored and complained about the lack of challenge in this game.
With 1.0.5, that went out the window as higher MP levels have forced those top-tiered monks to re-work their jewellery to accommodate high damage output AND high damage mitigation. Why? Because when you look at higher-tiered monks, some of the legendaries and sets allow for them to “steal” key offensive affixes into positions in the monk’s armor that have no business being there. Using Inna’s Temperance as an example, added 1.0% Critical Hit Chance, ~9% attack speed (from gloves & jewellery), and 12% movement speed (from boots). What you lose is damage mitigation in that an otherwise key defensive location that young monks needs defence. Damage mitigation didn’t matter as much in 1.0.4, but it matters in 1.0.5 because of stronger monsters in higher MP levels.
So now, you would need to find ways in other gear slots to have high damage mitigation to make up for its’ deficiencies and at minimum, maintain your damage output and since many legendaries and sets are so deficient in theirs. One or two pieces, and you can generally keep it to armor. More than that, and you may need to start looking towards jewellery to help make up for (in the form of vit, res, or armor). Prices for jewellery that are both strong offensively and defensively are uber expensive and has become virtually unaffordable for any lower mid-tier monks, but quite affordable to higher tiered monks. Pricing, remember, is based on demand/supply... but it is also affected the (financial) means of the different groups in demand of the sought after item.
And I believe that THIS is the key reason why lower-tiered monks need to avoid stacking their gear with certain “glass cannon” legendaries and sets (and especially poorly rolled ones). Because it forces them to compete for supporting gear with monks that can farm and play higher MP levels for keys and experience. Lower-tiered monks can only dream of playing the mid MP levels for keys. You simply cannot compete because your capacity to generate the necessary income to compete in AH is not adequate. You are effectively trying to play poker at a $5 table with only $25 in your pocket, and everybody else has $10,000. The odds are stacked against you to succeed and you need to realize this.
Key lesson to be learned here is: KNOW YOUR PLACE and PLAY TO YOUR LEVEL.
And with that, the gearing approach suggested here will put you out of harm’s way from the higher tiered monks because the gear you are looking for doesn’t do anything for them. In many cases, they wouldn’t even bother to pick them up or if they do, they’d vendor the items that you may find helpful and never make it to AH. Fortunately, you have mid-tiered monks who are listing them in AH because every 500K gold helps their cause. So without further ado, here’s the rest of the guide.
Edited by Nameless#1537 on 2/7/2013 2:01 PM PST
(1) Gearing Philosophy
1.1 Gear from the inside out
With any team sport out there, the general championship team sport philosophy tends to be the idea that a good offence starts with a strong defence. The adage that you cannot build championship teams without a strong defence applies here too. This is especially true for a monk because monks, by our very nature, are a melee class, so survival for a time long enough to slay your enemies is key, especially with the advent of monster power in 1.0.5. When your defence is strong, you can build an offence that can function independently of defence. That means when you upgrade, you are doing it with a single minded focus, and you do not necessarily need to trade offence for defence. As you read along in this guide, you’ll see what i mean.
1.2 How to increase survival
Basic elements of survival are: HP, Resistances, Armor, and Life Sustain. View the first 3 in that list as a cohesive unit, as they are used to calculate effective horsepower. I will not put the math in here, but you can find all the formulae and great information in this website (link was provided to me courtesy of Piffle): http://www.clicktoloot.com/p/combat.html.
For the monk who gear with OWE in mind, Resistances and Armor effectively do the same thing that in some ways work independently, and in some ways, work together. All you need to know is that they have to be kept in balance, and the ratio in calculations is that 10 Amor = 1 Resistance. In calculations, they have equal weight and imagine a scale. As you gear the monk with both, you will find that as resistances go up faster than armor, the effectiveness for each resistance point becomes less effective until the armor catches up - or as you picture a scale, it comes more into balance.
Prior to the STI nerf from 1.0.5, it was advised that you try to keep them at a 10:1 ratio. That was easily achieved. That is generally no longer as easy to achieve, except for the tankiest of monks (I’m looking at sword & board monks generally) and highest-tiered amongst uber monks. So you do what you can to bring it as close to the ratio as possible. I’d suggest aiming to maintain a minimum of 700AR (unbuffed) and 5000 Armor (buffed with STI and enchantress) realistically as you make it up to 100K dps. As you close in on 100K dps, get some LS you could lose 50 AR and likely not feel it as much. No matter your resistances, it will always be important to keep your monk moving, even if incrementally. Those desecrators have a way of sneaking up on you.
1.3 Life Sustain
In regards to life sustain, there are generally two forms to look out for. Passive ones and attack-based ones. Passive ones include Life per second and Extra Health on Globes (which works in conjunction with pickup radius). These are useful in that you don’t have to be in combat to use them, and they don’t scale with anything that you can really change. In general, these forms of life sustain are not valued very highly in AH, and it’s worth considering a decent bonus (+5K) to health globes and potions and expand that pickup radius in only one item - very useful and undervalued, in my opinion. Do pickup radius in more than one item, and it may be harder to predict when globes and gold will get picked up.
The main attack-based life sustain that most monks gravitate towards are LoH and LS. Life After Each KIll and LpSS are very cheap, but I see them as secondary forms of sustain that supports the primary ones of LS/LoH. There is a prevailing opinion out there that with the introduction of Monster Power, attack-based life sustain is not necessary until you hit somewhere around 60 K dps, at which case LS is generally advised. LoH is highly valued, but it is important to understand how it scales and then work it accordingly. Read ahead to understand what I am talking about.
Life on Hit is useful for a monk, but you have to know the mechanics of this. LoH scales with attack speed. So who is this most useful for? DW monks with fast weapons (weapons > 1.4 attack speed). Who is this less useful for? 2h monks with weapons with 1.0 attack speed. This is nice to have, but not necessary as you can get by without it until you hit 60K dps, especially with the introduction of the monster power system.
Life Steal is the end-game life sustain of choice. Why? Because it scales with damage dealt. And remember that in inferno, LS is nerfed 20%, so take 20% of your DPS, then apply the LS % and that’ll give you an idea of the minimum life return you can expect to be getting back per second prior to any skill bonuses. And this is helpful at higher MP levels as monster health goes up, and fights last longer, and the dreaded monster with Reflect Damage rears their ugly heads. LS is crucial for survival in those times. However, this is not as useful for monks that are less than 40K dps playing at low MP levels. After this, it can be useful to combine this with LoH until approximately 70K dps. You could consider start dropping LoH at that point, but that all depends on how much you feel you still need those training wheels.. Bear in mind that LS is only available on weapons, while LoH is available on weapons and jewellery. Use this to your advantage, as your weapons can be much cheaper if you don’t look for LoH, and you can find high LoH cheaply in an amulet if you really want it (at the expense of damage).
LpSS is very cheap right now, and in my opinion, very underappreciated but it can be added to your monk at a very low cost and can be very effective. It is true that LpSS is spikey in nature because you have to spam some kind of skill in order to get some life back. However, having sustain turns your frequent mantra spams into heal spells -- if you have a total of 100 LpSS on your monk, then each mantra spam (every 2s-3s) is equivalent to a 5K heal and each SW refresh can give you a 7.5K heal. Not a bad bonus to have on top of LS.
Life After Each Kill is an interesting stat that rarely gets discussed, but can be seen as a secondary form of sustain. It can get spikey, but having a pack of whites surrounding you can help your battles against elites. Since it is so cheap, it might not be a a bad idea to experiment with this as a secondary form of sustain as well.
1.4 Life Sustain vs. Good Defence
I’ve seen many monks pay top dollar for high LoH, but they have inadequate armor and/or resistances. In my opinion, the problem with reliance on sustain (LS or LoH) instead of a strong defence is that you are actually allowing monsters to hurt you and then expecting your damage dealt / attack speed to help you recover your health. I believe that's a recipe for disaster as you move up levels. A strong defence that mitigates the incoming damage will allow for fewer spikes in your health, and you'll see a slower and more predictable health decrease and that gives you more time to pop serenity when in trouble. Serenity will also give you a chance to restore your health in those 4 seconds of immunity and hope that you can last the next 16 seconds in battle using different strategies and skills. Remember that LoH and LS requires you to actually engage in combat to recover your health. In other words, it truly is SUSTAIN and not RESTORATION. As your health goes down, you cannot expect your LS and/or LoH to restore you to full health mid-battle, especially as you move up MP levels. And if you have a long journey out of ground effects or ranged enemies to escape some crazy battle, you will die before you can get out because you don't have enough defence to mitigate incoming damage as you are trying to escape battle. Gold being poured into high LS & LoH with no attention towards defence is not wise. If you spend the equivalent amount in increasing your eHP, I believe that your survival will go up significantly.
LS is likely to be helpful against reflect damage and if you get trapped in ground effects and you have to try to pound your way out of it. For many, having adequate LS/LoH is simply trying to prolong the fight enough so you can swing from serenity to serenity, 16 seconds of cooldown (4s less if you use Beacon of Ytar passive).
Bottom line -- life sustain of any sort will never be enough to make up for a bad defence. However, if you have a strong defence AND you have life sustain in battle, it’d work very well together allow for you to stay engaged in battle for longer and kill monsters more quickly. You probably won’t have to worry about that until after you hit 100K dps. For now, save your gold and pour it into armor with strongest defences possible.
1.5 How to increase DPS
Basic elements of DPS (without boring you with the math) is Dex, Weapon damage, Critical Hit Chance, Critical Hit Damage, Attack Speed, and hidden damage modifiers (see WKL as an example). Again, refer to the website I referenced above. As you work to increase DPS, always view them all in balance. There are times as you are gearing up that one of those stats will have better effect others. For now, know this. Critical Hit Chance and Critical Hit Damage work off of one another, and together magnify the effects of Dex and Attack Speed. Likewise, Dex and Attack speed modify total damage independently of each other - so they each magnify combination of Critical HIt Damage and Critical Hit Chance. It is very important to, at minimum, use a damage calculator to figure out impact of certain stats. I would highly recommend using a spreadsheet such as the one I used for planning purposes. Modify formulas according to your purposes (if you are doing 2h or S/B) once you figure it out.
1.6 Stats to aim for
~35K HP (~1000 Vit, but less if you have Life% in your gear)
~5000 Armor (with STI and buffs), ~3800 Armor pre STI and Enchantress buff
>2.9% LS (only really helpful after you hit 60K dps, and necessary after 80K dps at higher MP levels)
>30% Critical Hit Chance
>300% Critical Hit Damage
>20% Increased Attack Speed
1.7 Tools to use
Online DPS/EHP calculator -- http://www.d3up.com
DPS / eHP Planning Spreadsheet (I built this one from scratch) -- https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Aie1WlDfyFCYdGpFVTVqQU5acEMwVk9WSG1QNmx4SlE
Informative site to give max rolls on each slot: http://www.d3rmt.com/guides/diablo-3-item-stat-maximum-values/
Edited by Nameless#1537 on 1/22/2013 7:42 AM PST
(2) What to look for / What to avoid
2.1 Defence Slots (Shoulders, Chest, Belt, Pants, Boots)
With these items, the only stats that can possibly help you in your DPS is Dex (not including legendaries and sets). So focus intently on building a strong defence in these slots, which includes double stacking resistances and +armor whenever possible (or various combination). When looking at resists, try to get primary resist + AR > 100, but the higher the better. Be aware that the max roll on primary resist is 60 whereas the max roll on AR is 80. If you are able to get total resists in these slots > 500, it's good, but more is always better.
Also bear in mind max rolls of some of the attributes in each of these slots. Of note, max vit roll in chest and pants is 300, so gear accordingly and max dex rolls on boots are 300. This can give you some ideas on which attribute to focus on in each of these slots. Make sure you get all the sockets you can in chest and pants, as these can really help to balance your stats down the road (I will explain this further later).
A word about boots -- MS is important, but considered a luxury for young monks. Once you are able to farm MP levels easily, it’s time to search for MS boots, unless you already have MS elsewhere (like in Inna’s Temperance or Lacuni’s Prowlers).
In my 100K dps monk, I spent a total of 18M for these items, bearing in mind the Inna’s Temperance drop that is not factored into costs, and yielded the following key stats:
2.2 Hybrid Slots (Gloves, Bracers, Helm)
These items have a mix of offensively-minded stats with regular defensive ones. Helms and bracers are important for the critical hit chance, so that has to be tops on your list of stats, And then beyond that, similar principles apply as what I stated earlier about balancing dex, vit, resists and armor.
Gloves are special, because they also give you access to critical hit chance, critical hit damage, and attack speed -- the so-called trifecta of weapon damage. If you can get AR > 700 in other gear, you shouldn't have to worry about resistances too much here. Life sustain (LPS or Extra health on globes) on gloves are generally a waste of an attribute, IMO. As you get more set pieces down the road, you may need to start putting resistances and armor here to compensate for lack of those in the core pieces. But for now, try to keep them off if you can.
In my 100K dps monk, I spent a total of 9.75M for these items, and yielded the following key stats:
2.3 Offence Slots (Amulet, Ring, Weapons)
This is where gearing becomes fun, and this is where you will spend the vast majority of your gold, in relation to the rest of your gear. In the ideal scenario, you have all of your vit and damage mitigation at high levels elsewhere. Your focus here is on doing whatever you can to up your DPS.
In weapons, you are looking for a healthy combination of weapon damage, attack speed, critical hit damage, open socket, LS (currently quite expensive on AH), and hidden DPS modifiers that don't affect paper doll DPS (look to a WKL or Sever as examples).
+ Average damage (+XX-YY weapon damage), crit hit chance, crit hit damage, open sockets on weapons, attack speed and dex are all of highest priorities for jewellery. If you feel a strong need for some LoH, try looking for it in an amulet. Beware though, I don’t think you would be able to get a high damage increase AND LoH, chiefly because you may be competing with higher-tiered monks for the same gear. I would suggest +average damage, dex, critical hit chance and attack speed on rings, and +average damage, dex, critical hit chance and critical hit damage on amulets.. Why? Because the upper limits of attack speed is the same between rings and amulet, but with critical hit damage, rings offer you half of what amulet would offer. To me, that screams search for decent critical hit damage in amulet, and looking for attack speed in rings.
I’ve also read (courtesy of stayfrosty) that a good rule of thumb to evaluate usefulness of +average damage is to take the average number and count that as critical hit damage. So an average increase on weapon damage of +20-40 weapon damage is roughly equivalent to 30%CD, depending on your stats, weapon speed, etc. Traditionally, +average damage jewellery is undervalued in the AH -- probably because most people don’t really understand this stat very well at all.
Just a quick point (and refer to my spreadsheet) to illustrate the value of gloves, gems and jewellery. In my 100K dps monk, if I were to eliminate all attack speed (leaving it with a base 1.4x1.15 for DW bonus), all additional critical hit chance (leaving me with the base 5%) and leave my weapons alone (no gems), my DPS would drop down to 27K dps. That means that you increase your damage output just under 4X simply through glove, jewellery and gems (and to a limited extent, helm and bracers). So it would make sense to spend a proportionate amount of gold on that part of your monk. Simply put, weapons do so little in comparison to jewellery and gems. A half-decent weapon can take you far - definitely doesn’t have to be super.
With weapons, it is worth sacrificing weapon damage for higher critical hit damage, as that can give you a net increase in total DPS. This becomes more important as you increase your critical hit chance, and this can give you much bigger DPS boost over time. Socketed weapons are an absolutely necessity because this allows your weapon to grow with you. Your jewellery & gems will be upgraded along the way, and thus, your DPS. I would generally advise against picking up any weapon without critical hit damage AND OS. And that combination of relatively high inherent critical hit chance (>80%) and decent DPS (~900 dps) need not be expensive, especially if it is not paired up with LS or LoH -- under 2M could score you a nice one if you play your cards right. Try to put a little dex in your search terms too.
The question can come up -- should I opt for a high DPS weapon with no built-in critical hit damage but an OS or a lower DPS weapon with critical hit damage and OS. The answer is: it depends. Cost is one factor. One big factor is how much critical hit chance you are sporting or hope to sport. The other is how much you value high crit damage. Remember, higher crit damage means higher fluctuations in your damage. So higher DPS weapon would keep your overall DPS higher, but variations less, so your highest high may not be as high as the lower DPS weapon with high total critical hit damage... but nor are the lowest of your crits (or lowest of your non-crits). Higher fluctuations means higher potential life return / hit if you have LS; higher fluctuations in damage mean nothing if you have LoH. In the end, it’s a matter of your weapon cost, personal playstyle, and what you’d prefer to see. Bottom line is that in any weapon you get, an OS is crucial. Don’t use one without it. And use a damage calculator (or a spreadsheet) to get the projected DPS before you drop gold on it. It’ll save you a lot of gold / money.
In my 100K dps monk, I spent a total of 6.5M gold on weapons, and 12.1M gold on jewellery, yielding the following key stats:
2.4 Sockets or no sockets?
For the chest and pants, absolutely yes. Get max sockets whenever you can. Why? What sockets allow you to do is to look at eachother item as a combination of dex + vitality. The ultimate place to be would likely be after putting together the defensive slots and hybrid slots is to have 2 or 3 emeralds in and the rest in amethysts. You can upgrade some pieces without having to touch your chest or pant piece because of those slots Having high vit would allow you to buy some gear with just dex as a primary stat and allow you go more full-out attack. Please note that the highest max vit on chest & pants are 300 each, while dex is at 200. Take advantage of that when you are searching for chest and pants armor.
Sockets in helms are highly advised -- use them to stick in a 15% life gem, and that will reduce your vit requirements as you search for gear, making the rest of your gear search cheaper. The gem means that you can now look for a total of 850 vit instead of 1000 vit to get 35K life. That socket is a huge investment. Take advantage of it. If you don’t use it for life because you have enough HP in your gear, consider using it for experience bonus.
I am not yet convinced in the need for sockets in jewellery at this point. Presumably, you will have taken care of all of your damage mitigation and vitality stats in the aforementioned areas. You need dex, but not vit. You don’t need the added flexibility here yet, so don’t pay up for it.
2.5 Concluding Statements
In my opinion, it is important to ensure that all of your defences (vit, AR and Armor) are sealed up by the time you are ready to search for jewellery. If you are able to do this, you are freed up to search for jewellery that will increase damage output and not have to worry about damage mitigation. If you get jewellery with some of those defensive stats, they are considered a bonus, but not needed for future upgrades. This makes for easier gear searches, and in some cases, way cheaper because you are asking less of your jewellery and you are likely not competing against higher tiered monks at that point.
Edited by Nameless#1537 on 11/29/2012 8:21 AM PST
(3) How to use AH effectively
This section is written more for the most frugal of monks, where they have to stretch their gold as far as they can. As you move up the ranks, it may not be a great use of time to do the extra search for equivalent specced gear in order to figure out how to price it. You might be better off just setting a small starting bid and allow market prices follow. But here is some information anyway.
3.1 Advantages of buying on bid
You will generally pick up better deals if you avoid buyouts. If you end up buying the item on the bid, then the price at which you get it (regardless of what you put in as your max bid) will be determined by the next highest bidder. Which means that at the time of purchase, someone else in the world was willing to pay that amount. While it doesn’t mean that the same person will be around when you sell it, it should be close. Buyout prices are important because those set the tone for your maximum bid. Look for something similarly specced, and you can use that as a gauge of how much your max bid is. I’d say no more than 75% at the max, but 50% to be comfortable.
You can also throw in the lowest bid possible (preferably at a very cheap price) and actually hope you get outbid early in the auctioning process. That frees up the gold you put into the bid, puts the gear in your monitoring window and you can watch prices that way. This is a great way to watch how auctions work and see market prices for certain items. It also allows you to enter the specifications of the gear you are looking to buy to see how it balances with other items you have. Furthermore, it will mean you can juggle more than one item at a time and see which combination of items work best for your situation. By the time you are ready to put in your final bid, you can determine which items you truly want to go after.
You simply can’t do that on buyout. There’s always a question of whether it will be purchased or taken off the market in the time that you are pondering the gear. You feel compelled to commit to something without truly thinking about longer term impact of the upgrade. There is no way to track it and hard to locate if you pass it up the first time you find it.
Another advantage is that when it comes time to sell for your next upgrade, you can be relatively assured that you will, at minimum, lose a little and at best, make a lot on the upgrade. Purchasing items in this manner will open up opportunities to pick up pieces as severe discounts and make it possible to sell it for 1000x the purchase price (as I have experienced when I purchased a weapon at 27K on bid, and sold it for 1M on buyout in one scenario).
Generally speaking, the later you can submit your max bid, the better (why show your hand earlier than necessary?) The best way to get the best price on an item is to throw in your max bid in the last 10-20 seconds of an auction - otherwise known as AH sniping. It is not always possible to do this, but if you think you can be around for an item you are eyeing, I would suggest you try this. Just have a stopwatch ready so that you know when to put that max bid in.
Mind you, this is a general suggestion. Sometimes people misprice their goods and you can get an absolute steal for that item. If you see it, buy it. Those deals don’t last long. Usually only for 1h or 2h max before someone else spots a good deal and gets it.
3.2 Why selling gear at buyout prices are important
The converse of the previous section applies. You set the starting bid = buyout price at something comparably specced gear if possible. Why? Because you want to make someone pay the premium for the satisfaction of buying your gear without having to wait or question whether they will be outbid, and don’t give them the option of throwing a low bid to “steal” your item. Most people are impatient. Make them pay for for their impatience or desperation.
In trying to figure out buyout prices, this will also help you figure out the market better for your purchases. It will help you discern which of your drops are worth listing in AH, and which are vendor items, and that is an investment in time. I can feed you the information, but experiencing it for yourself will make the knowledge more alive and useful.
The only time I would advise against this is if you find gear that there are no comparables, and considered a BiS item. The only people that really need BiS gear are the uber players. An ordinary monk (and you are one of those if you are reading this) will not experience the full benefit of that item and may in fact weigh you down. Better off selling at an astronomical price and outfitting your whole monk for much higher DPS. At that point, try listing it at the minimum you are willing to sell it at and let the market forces take over. You may find a taker or not. That information in itself should tell you something about your item (in terms of its value).
3.3 AH in higher levels
The approach that I am talking about can work because there may be an oversupply of gear for mid-tiered monks so you have a choice around how to purchase. As you move up the ranks, it will likely become harder and harder to score amazing deals when purchasing on the bid, because everybody is looking for the same things, and they know how much the market price should be. People competing for these items will have deeper pockets and will bid up the gear within reason. I do not anticipate that a well rolled item will go unnoticed in AH for very long... it might seem unnoticed in the first 12-24 hours of listing, but in watching some of the AH dynamics, it’s interesting how the prices on highly demanded gear moves up exponentially as the end of the auction nears. This is usually when people may begin to submit their max bids. Sniping might still work, but not nearly as effectively as the mid-tiered items, so the last minute action may not actually be as frenetic as the mid-tiered stuff. I do not have empirical evidence to support this, but I expect that whatever you purchase your gear at is likely to be very close to market price (which I consider to be 15% of the lowest offered equivalent item in GAH, assuming that the item is priced reasonably well when compared to similar items). At this point, buying out items might actually work out better to save you from the heartache of losing out on the item that you want and wondering if you’ll see that same item in the same combination again because the combination you are looking for might be harder to find than what you were looking for when you are moving through lower dps ranks.
Edited by Nameless#1537 on 11/7/2012 11:09 PM PST
(4) Should I re-gear?
As you are reading through this guide, you may be considering a difficult decision to rid yourself of some key items after you see how it may cause you more heartache than benefit down the road. Maybe you feel that you’ve set up your whole monk wrong and you are thinking about tearing your monk apart and starting from scratch and build it properly from the ground up with proper foundational pieces. But it’s a difficult decision to make, so let me list out some issues for you to consider as you ponder the question.
4.1 Re-gearing can be a good thing
As I look back on how I leveled up, I now realize that I have compounded mistake on top of mistake as I was purchasing gear, and trying to find ways to accommodate past decisions while upgrading and keeping my damage output and mitigation balanced. I didn't understand how to buy gear, and I felt I had some weird stats in "wrong places". Re-gearing gave me an opportunity to re-think my gear and organize my gear priorities more clearly. It also broke attachment to some gear that I had -- stupid, I know. But it happens.
4.2 Re-gearing does not have to be costly
In my situation, I had 13M to work with initially, and I basically had to re-gear my helm, shoulders, chest, bracers, belt and eventually my OH ring (not yet done) to accommodate my new pants. I wasn't sure that I could do it, but it turned out to be much cheaper than I thought it would be - it cost me a total of 9.2M, including an inna's radiance I bought for 4.2M, the other pieces cost me right around 5M combined. In selling my old gear, I got at least 7M of it back after AH fees, so the upgrades cost me a net of 2.2M. The round of upgrades + set piece ended up increasing my DPS by approximately 15K, from 60K to 75K. Mind you, I did not work on jewellery, gloves or weapons, but in my mind, it wasn’t the right time (see section 4.4 for explanation why). This is just one example of re-gearing that worked.
4.3 Long term benefits
Pushing "reset" on your monk and gearing more wisely is crucial in setting up your monk for future upgrades. As my monk's gear becomes organized, and the "right stats" are in the right places, this helps upgrades in the future. One of the most frustrating things in my experience is feeling forced to find an "arcane glove" or a "lightning ring" because you feel you need to maintain a bottom line threshold in those stats -- it severely limits your jewellery search and could make the item more expensive. It is unnecessary to do that as a junior monk, but may become a necessity when you are a higher-tiered monk, as you lose some key defensive stats in key areas to accommodate the bonuses that set pieces or legendaries provide. The less of a demand for damage mitigation that you have for your gloves and especially your jewellery, the better and cheaper your upgrades will be. And remember what I wrote earlier about the AH economy.
If you do this right, your upgrade paths will be crystal clear and you won’t have to post a question on the forums about how to upgrade, and get all kinds of silly advice to get costly legendaries, etc. Knowledge is power. Use it to your advantage.
4.4 How to re-gear
If you make the difficult (but long-term) good decision to re-gear, then use the principles provided in here and start with the defensive unit, then the hybrid unit, and then offensive unit and do it in that order. Don’t start one until you are satisfied with the previous. Once you are done the initial pass, you can begin to tweak back and forth. The general philosophy you adopt is that you consider upgrading 2 to 3 pieces at a time, and usually within the same unit.
However, once you introduce legendaries and set pieces, you will begin to have to break down those walls and start looking to fill in the gaps from damage mitigation lost in key areas. The upgrade process is generally more straightforward and easier when you are dealing only in rares.
Edited by Nameless#1537 on 11/7/2012 11:10 PM PST
(5) Ending Remarks
5.1 Last word about legendaries and set pieces
These pieces are not necessarily bad. Most of them are awesome. But poorly rolled legendaries and set pieces are overpriced pieces of garbage, and they are lapped up by eager young monks because they are cheap, look and are nice and shiny. Shiny legendaries on crap monks do not cover up the stench of a crap monk. The upgrade path (concept explored in a later section) will be horrendously expensive because you are trying to make up for deficiencies in your legendary pieces you have just paid bundles for, and this is magnified by poorly rolled legendaries. One poorly rolled legendary / set piece can cost you 10s and maybe even 100s of millions in future upgrades. The truth of the matter is that the money you spend on one poorly rolled set or legendary piece can often gear your whole monk at a decent DPS. Spend the extra millions to get a better roll, and the rest of your gear will thank you.
As you get into legendaries and set pieces, you will find a lot of damage modifiers that will not show up in your paper-doll DPS. Just be aware of that. I’m thinking weapons like WKL or Sever, or stats found in Inna’s Favor (extra 8% holy damage). You’ll also find more stats around reduction elite monster damage, or limitations on crowd control effects. Very useful, but you won’t see the numbers but you’ll feel it when you play. And that’s probably why many higher-tiered monks swear by them.
I would generally not advise putting a good legendary or set piece on a monk with less than 50K dps. Generally, you have other things to worry about and that gold is better spent elsewhere. Or if you happen to find one you want to build around, save it and then gear around it when you feel more ready to do so.
Young monks need all of the defensive stats in the right places. And then when you start gearing up for offence, you do it without any defensive constraints. You simply can’t do that with some legendary and set pieces, not without tremendous cost to a poor monk. Simply not worth it until you have the gold to support the benefits and losses the pieces offer.
With all that said, many of you will be itching to get your hands on some really nice legendary pieces or sets. So here’s a list of questions that I would consider in deciding whether it is the right time for you to purchase that great looking legendary / set piece:
Remember, as boring or unattractive as this sounds, no upgrade should be considered for a low or mid-tiered monk if it is a sacrifice to your defence that brings your EHP significantly below your minimum EHP threshold (I’m suggesting that to be approximately 400K, if not more). The gearing approach of sacrificing defence for offence may be considered for high-tiered monks who already have the output to thrash mid MP levels for kicks and are set up to find legendaries on a regular basis, but their gear is likely going to be worth more than 100x than what you have or what you can afford. They may even have a higher DPS / lower defence set to farm lower levels and an alternate lower DPS / high defence / high sustain for playing higher MP levels. As a lower tiered monk, we do not yet have those options available to us.
5.2 Why incremental upgrades are important
Rather than looking for big splashes, incremental upgrades for the beginning monk can give you time to get to know skills and playstyles of the monk. It allows for you to keep those training wheels on and still get good experience. It allows for you to slowly move up the MP ranks and set yourself to farm lower MP levels efficiently. When you are first starting up, saving for the “big upgrade” is not a smart move because that big upgrade will end up improving your monk very little in comparison to the amount of gold you are paying. However, if you are already well geared, that same piece can have a significant impact on your monk as a whole and the gold will be likely a wiser investment in your monk. In other words, do not put the cart before the horse and stay humble.
As an example, a 1 dex increase on a 27K dps (barebones) monk would net you an increase in DPS of ~14. That same 1 dex increase on a 100K dps monk will net you an increase of ~44. This is why high dex gear should not be valuable to lower-tiered monks. This is also what would determine a good roll in a legendary or set even looks like, and why dex becomes incrementally (or exponentially) more expensive as you get higher in the item class’ stat range. You are usually better off upgrading 2-3 pieces at a time for a net increase at lower tier levels. The net eHP and DPS impact will allow for you to more efficiently farm a level, setting yourself up for faster runs and better gold / gear drops.
5.3 Upgrade Path
One of the things that you will likely accomplish if you follow the rules of this guide and you don’t succumb to overloading your monk with too many poorly rolled legendary sets and items, that your upgrade path will be so crystal clear that you won’t have to post any questions in the forum with confusion on what to do next. If you do the upgrades in order, one group at a time... then when you head back to revisit the defensive group (as an example), you will see glaring deficiencies in dex. And by the time you get back and you do things right, each dex will be worth 2x-3x what they were when you started (as it pertains to impact on DPS), so you’d be more than willing to pay millions for a 20 dex increase because it’ll increase your overall DPS by close to 1000 dps alone. And then when you are done with that group, you address the needs in your hybrid group. Maybe you are 1% CC short of the max in your bracers, or short on IAS in your gloves. You’ll find that on AH and be able to spring for the upgrade. Or when you get to your weapons, you’ll see a glaring deficiency in critical hit damage or even dex, and you can now search for and pay for the right upgrade. Amulets and rings -- since you don’t have to worry about damage mitigation, it’s just adding onto what you already have -- 1% CC here, 10% CD there. Each increase will give you much higher DPS increase and worth upgrading incrementally and you won’t have to worry about impact to defence. It doesn’t have to be a tradeoff of offence vs. defence to upgrade one or another.
In other words, it makes the game simpler for you. And if it’s simple, it’s fun.
5.4 A Word about Gold Find and Magic Find
I would generally advise against looking for this (but if it happens to come on an item you want, then it’s a nice bonus). To me, this is literally fools gold for lower-tiered monks and is an unnecessary search restriction on your item search. You are much better lifting this restriction off your gear search to get better gear. This will allow you to farm levels either more efficiently, or farm higher levels better. In the long run, this approach yields better results. This gives you better opportunities for good drops, acquire XP faster and you will end up getting more gold and better drops in the long run. Do not discount the effect of fast increases in paragon levels. The faster you level, the faster your magic find increases. The higher MP levels you can play, the higher your initial MF and GF is. There may be value for uber monks looking for end-game gear, but for the mid-tier to lower-tier monks, it’s a big waste of gold that may end up hurting them in the long run because it can be an unnecessary constraint prevents them from upgrading gear they need to get to higher MP levels, which give more XP, more MF and more GF just for leveling up..
5.5 Should I Gear For the Upcoming OWE Nerf?
That question is infused with one massive assumption that Blizzard has repeatedly attempted to assure us that they will not do but they just don't like that there is one key passive that virtually every monk needs to have. They want to change it so that it doesn't invalidate all of our gear. I don't know how they will do it, but many believe that it will represent a big nerf.
They may have also read a bunch of monks attempting to gear without primary resist and stick to AR. Junior monks read that and think this is what they should do too. And this is an example of breaking my cardinal rules of KNOWING YOUR PLACE and PLAYING TO YOUR LEVEL.
What those higher-tiered monks are doing is either attempting to get their AR in every slot, or they are constructing a more glass cannon monk. But one thing they have that lower-tiered monks do not have is gold. Plenty of gold. What they are trying to do is tremendously expensive. Doing this as a junior monk will be equivalent of trying to deadlift a 300 lb barbell in your first 6 months of weight-training. You will wreck yourself if you try this now, so don't even think about it.
Your focus is to use all of the tools you have available right now to construct the best monk right now as efficiently as possible right now. You do this with all of the tools you have available to you right now. The quicker you can do this, the easier it will be to earn more gold in the near future because you will have greater access to legendaries in your farming runs. You will have a larger supply of gold down the road. If the good people at Blizzard end up nerfing OWE, which I doubt, then at least you will have gold, or at least, valuable equipment to sell off if you need to re-gear in a massive way.
5.6 How this will help you in the long run
I believe that when you know how to balance the monk, you are ready to deal with legendaries and set pieces. When they come along, you will have a far higher likelihood of picking up better drops, be able to make the gold more efficiently in higher MP levels to pay for the legendary/set supporting gear (usually rares). You will know how to price items better in the AH for sale, and know how to recognize cheap gear when you see it. You will be able to afford gear to support strong legendaries and sets.
D3 will become a much easier game to play, and you may actually stop complaining on the forums about how expensive it is to gear out a monk in comparison to a WW barb. You may actually start enjoying D3, and not start another one of those QQ threads. You may learn to appreciate the intricacies and brilliance of this game design. Through your example, you may even convince other players to play monk, and then offload your “cheap” gear at exorbitant prices (and start process from scratch), because I believe there may be some people might be willing to pay >100M to get a monk with the stats I have listed.
You could even show off how much you are able to do on such limited funds and make your friends and other D3 players jealous and make the monk the envy of all classes. Okay, maybe that’s pushing it, but you get my point, right? :)
I apologize for making this guide so wordy, but I do hope you found this guide helpful and I hope that the information that I present here is accurate.
Good luck, and enjoy.
In Christ Alone,
Edited by Nameless#1537 on 11/19/2012 11:51 AM PST
This section is going to be used to cover some ideas that people in the responses have brought up that I want to address in here. Right now, there is nothing here because prior ideas about OWE, LpSS and LAEK have been included in the body of my guide above. More will be put here over time. Stay tuned.
Edited by Nameless#1537 on 11/13/2012 10:55 AM PST
Hello, a few questions for you:
1. Would it be worth gearing up your EHP to the point where you can use conviction mantra? I'm comparing a flat 24% increase in damage done (with overawe rune) compared to trying to break the 100k barrier.
2. Is OWE still worth gearing for? I went with the dex = armor approach pre-1.05, and i absolutely hate OWE as I find it limits your gear choices a lot. Unfortunately blizzard decided to reduce STI to 50% of dex, so I lost a shield's worth of armor. They may do the same to OWE in future, its known that a change to OWE is coming from the developer notes.
3. In your opinion, is a combination of LOH and LPSS (augmented further by the use of transcendence) a viable alternative in higher MP (7-10) if one cannot afford a good LS weapon? This is assuming the monk has enough attacks per second to sustain mantra + skill spam. I know monks who spam a lot of their mantras/skills and all that good spirit goes to waste when it could be converted to health....
Thank you in advance.
PS: Would you mind if I added you to friends to pick your brains? It is extremely hard to dig beneath all the end game echoing fury lifesteal cookiecutter passive/cyclone build monks to find a true philosopher of the monk class.
Edited by Sharenis#6818 on 11/8/2012 12:00 AM PST
The whole point of maintaining a high EHP from the get-go is to get off of MoE/HT or MoH/ToN. If you can maintain this, I don't see why you can't use MoC/Overawe in the lower MP levels. That's what I do, anyway. But once I start moving to more challenging MP levels, I'm thinking of putting in MoE/HT instead and see if that can help me swing from serenity to serenity. The fights could be more drawn out, but I might have more of a chance for victory. Still need to experiment.
Right now, I'd gear for what is in place now. Blizzard is taking their time in making changes to OWE, and it appears that it is their priority to make a change such that it does not invalidate monks' gear right now. The problem with not gearing for OWE is that it will force you to look for jewellery with AR to maintain a minimum threshold. If most monks do that, they will not get to 100K dps on a budget because that gear will be EXPENSIVE. In your case, you are already there, so you may be able to afford gear that is OWE free. Gear for right now, get to high DPS fast, start farming for better legendaries and more gold now and then hope that you have enough gold to make necessary adjustments should that day come. Don't bring tomorrow's troubles to today... that's my view anyway.
3. In your opinion, is a combination of LOH and LPSS (augmented further by the use of transcendence) a viable alternative in higher MP (7-10) if one cannot afford a good LS weapon? I know monks who spam a lot of their mantras and all that good spirit goes to waste when it could be converted to health....
I have no idea about MP7-10. Clearly, I'm not there yet. I'd suggest posting that question in the monk forums and ask the uber monks to answer. A good LS weapon is not necessarily expensive if you know where to look. Low DPS (<800) weapons with high crit damage + OS + LS might not be too expensive (haven't checked lately). For some reason, crit hit damage doesn't seem to be as high in demand when compared to DPS. Less flashy, I suppose.
Of course! I don't think I'm THAT knowledgeable, but I'm soaking up knowledge and just passing along what I know. Thanks for your response!
Edited by Nameless#1537 on 11/8/2012 12:08 AM PST
What I was asking is, would it be more worthwhile to get up EHP first to the point where you can run with MOC:OA as it will instantly increase your dps, compared to trying to break the 100k barrier first.
The reason crit hit damage is not as high in demand is because it is the least attractive of dps stats when comparing with attack speed and critical chance. Meaning that 1% of CHD gives you less dps than 1% of IAS and CC. This of course, assuming you have an adequate amount of CHD (250% or so).
As for low dps weapons, in my experience they tend to spawn without stats when they have a socket and life steal. Sure, they are cheap. But so is garbage.
"Don't bring tomorrow's troubles to today" that's fair enough, however as a monk who got severely affected by STI's nerf due to gearing for the then today, I'm afraid I can no longer share that way of thinking.
But I do thank you for your valuable insight.
What I was asking is, would it be more worthwhile to get up EHP first to the point where you can run with MOC:OA as it will instantly increase your dps, compared to trying to break the 100k barrier first.
Oh... then absolutely, unequivocal and a resounding yes IMO. Gearing approach for me has always been defence first, and then offence. I think monks should try to try to get to an adequate EHP even at lower DPS levels and just maintain as you upgrade. I feel that once you sacrifice defence for offence, it's hard to get it back again without paying through the nose in the AH or doing a massive re-tooling to get your monk back on track. Defence is easy to lose, hard to get back. Offence will always be easy to gain... it just takes way more gold as you move up levels.
Yes, I agree with you on that. That's why I'd advise against getting ChD on rings and gloves. What I'm referring to is an weapon with crit hit damage. It just seems to me that weapons that are lower in DPS, but has inherent crit hit damage is somehow less attractive to the flashier high dps / no crit hit damage (but of course, OS) weapons. I might be off on this, as I have not checked AH in a while.
Edited by Nameless#1537 on 11/8/2012 12:49 AM PST
Thank you for such high praise, especially considering the source. Your monk is the object of my envy right now, as it has all of the components that I'm looking to do with my monk. Looking forward to our next in-game chat. :)
BTW, I've been giving thought to your Q3 above. I need to put together some thoughts and I'll post it later in the day. Some initial thoughts is that I think that I read that in Morionic's opinion LpSS is actually the endgame life sustain of choice. I might be wrong on this, but regardless, I'm beginning to think about the power behind LpSS, and how LpSS might be horrendously undervalued, and why the monk I am writing about in this guide might consider dropping LS and pick up LpSS (or at least, use LpSS to supplement LS). I might do this myself very soon to do some testing once I have some gold. If someone wants to fund my testing, I'll accept donations or a loan! :) More on this later.
Edited by Nameless#1537 on 11/8/2012 6:27 AM PST
While I only skimmed the entire guide, I think you missed the point of the state of end-game D3 right now - farming low level MP at max movement speed. (After getting a Hellfire ring of course) This only requires 50-60k dps, some spirit regen, and face-rolling. Doing higher MP is in-efficent, not worth the gear investment, and god only know what they have in mind for PvP and how to gear for that. (PvP Power affix?)
But yea good guide for 1.04.
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