Diablo® III

Comparison series: SW vs. EP

I thought it might be interesting to start a series of threads comparing two skills of similar ilk. What I'm hoping is that a bunch of people chime in to explain why they use one skill over another. I can see three possible positive results . . .

1. Newer monks will get some insights into why one skill is popular. For some of the comparisons I have in mind, one skill is going to be used a lot more than the other. Hopefully threads like these will help newbies understand *why* that is.

2. Experienced monks might learn something new. Everyone who's been around for a while is familiar with the cookie cutters. But maybe there's something else out there which would work better with your particular gear, or play-style, or just give you that pimp-smooth feeling for which you've always yearned.

3. Maybe the dev's learn something. I don't suspect the monk forums are highly watched, but who knows, maybe the dev's are interested in knowing why so many people chose serenity over inner sanctuary, or conviction over retribution (those are terrible examples . . . I'd be shocked if the dev's don't know the answers to those particular comparisons).

So anyway, I'm hoping people will chime in to say why they're using one skill over another. I'd say it's also fair game to discuss what it would take to get you to switch. Patch 1.07 is obviously focused on buffing the damage of certain skills. Will it be enough to get you to switch? If not, why not?

First up, sweeping wind versus exploding palm. Way back when these two skills were both generators, but both were changed to spenders shortly before release. Sweeping wind, particularly cyclone, is a critical component to the "cookie cutter" monk build. Exploding palm has never been nearly as popular, although it does seem to have some popularity among monks who like to do high MP uber group runs. So, you monks, why are you running sweeping wind instead of exploding palm? Or vice versa. And what would need to be changed to get you to consider switching?
Edited by overg#1771 on 1/25/2013 3:39 PM PST
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Before I answer my own question, here's a link to a list of very helpful monk guides . . .


If you're more interested in general monk information, or finding out how to build the cookie cutter, there are already some great threads out there, helpfully compiled by KamelJabber.
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For my build/gear, I love how Sweeping Wind/Cyclone works with Lifesteal. Even if I get frozen, the cyclones heal me through it.
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So to answer my own question, I've been using exploding palm for quite a while, specifically the flesh is weak ruin, in a build that essentially looks like this . . .


The basic idea is to tag one mob with the flesh is weak, kill it, and watch everything else in the area get crippled or die.

As for why I use it instead of the vastly more popular sweeping wind? Well, I just think it's cool. And in my experience, it's at least as efficient as sweeping wind. Of course, my experience is going to differ from most, because a) I play self found, and b) I don't care for Fist of Thunder (which has great synergy with sweeping wind/cyclone). Exploding palm is great for the under-geared, as its blast depends upon mob health, not your equipment. So I do just as much damage by killing an elite tagged with EP as someone with 4 times my dps (although they will certainly get that damage much faster by killing the first elite much quicker than I ever could).

As for sweeping wind, I actually do use it in an alt-spec ( http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/monk#UedgSk!!b.bYca ), and can appreciate it's power. But for me, one of the skill's greatest strengths is actually a drawback. Namely, that it's pretty much a passive buff, fire and forget skill. While this certainly makes the skill powerful in a damage-per-spirit-spent sense, I tend to have more fun when I'm pushing more buttons.

So for me, the choice of EP versus SW is one of playstyle, where I prefer the more active EP. I know that's a minority view though, so hopefully others will chime in with their thoughts.
Edited by overg#1771 on 1/25/2013 3:38 PM PST
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Oh, and if this sort of thing proves to be popular, I'd welcome suggestions for other comparisons (or start your own thread!). I think some spirit generator and mantra comparisons could be quite revealing, and it'd be interesting to hear people's thoughts on the difference between an insanely popular skill like serenity versus the heavily shunned inner sanctuary. My first thought when starting this was to focus on some of the skills which are being looked at/changed in 1.07, but if there are some other really interesting comparisons people would like to discuss, I'm open to suggestions.
Edited by overg#1771 on 1/25/2013 3:37 PM PST
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Exploding Palm is a fun and useful skill, but it will never be as valuable to our class as Sweeping Wind.

SW - more dps, more sustain via Cyclones
EP - more group benefit (with FiW), better spirit dump

Those are really the differences.

I wouldn't say they're that similar because of the fact one is a fire and forget skill while the other is spammable.

I would look more at the viability of using them together if anything.
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