So what exactly are Monks? According to game lore, Monks are holy warriors guided by the one thousand and one gods in the land of Ivgorod. They endure rigorous trials which test the limits of the body and spirit to prove their devotion. They attain unmatched clarity on the battlefield. They are masters of both martial weapons and unarmed combat and are able to channel holy power through their iron will. This means that not only are they physically deadly, they can also call on the divine to smite the wicked and cast protection mantras or healing waves.
Fist to Face Physics
This class is primarily melee-based. With that said, don't let that fool you into thinking it focuses on attack and nothing else. Monks specialize in efficient attacks, making use of a flurry of hits and evading the enemy with their speed. Like the Barbarian and Crusader classes, they can also endure destructive blows with an active 30% base damage reduction.
Although they are built to soak up a considerable amount of damage, Monks are not clunky, textbook tanks. In contrast to the Crusader and Barbarian classes, they favor mobility, using rapid blows and evasion in order to prepare for the next strike. By darting in and out, they are able to maximize the use of both hand-to-hand skills and elemental assaults. Monks are able to focus on a single target, eliminating him from battle in an instant or utilize area of effect skills to mortally wound enemies immediately around them.
Being masters of unarmed combat, even their bodies are deadly weapons, although specialized weapons (fists, talons spikes and talons) may still be used to augment their effectiveness. Katars, for instance, are knuckle daggers which may be used to stab enemies. Only Monks can use Daibos. Made of banded strips of wood, these long staff weapons are used to inflict blunt damage and deflect attacks when whirled. They can also use Spirit Stones and are able to dual-wield.
Brawling is not a Technique
This is not a class for the impatient. Their attacks are more deadly when timed and used precisely. They are not overwhelmingly powerful. Instead, the Monk's expertise lies in area of effect skills. This raises enemy aggro, making him the perfect candidate to lure hostiles away from weakened party members. For example, leveled players can use the Way of the Hundred Fists with Windforce Flurry rune (unleashes a barrage of attacks which strike hostiles for 190% weapon damage, rune adds Cold damage) alongside Crippling Wave with the Concussion Rune (deals 155% weapon damage and dazes enemies up to 11 yards for every three hits to slow and weaken attack) to keep swarms from overwhelming them.
Among their abilities are those that supplement the damage they deal, generate spiritual energy and cast buffs. They move so fast that they are able to teleport without needing to use magic. Considering their strengths, Monks rely heavily on Dexterity as well as Vitality. It is worth remembering that even though stat points are automatically assigned per level up, equipment can still enhance a build. Choosing the correct items can mean the difference between surviving or floundering, especially in the Master and Torment difficulty levels.
Magic is the Key
As we've mentioned, Monks make use of Mantras, which function much like the Paladin's Auras in Diablo 2. These skills can buff and heal allies. It can also give allies useful elemental resistances to increase the overall survivability of the party. Because of the class specific buffs, this takes the Monk's utility up a notch when it comes to multiplayer campaigns. Do note that having two or more Monks in the same party using the same Mantras will have one of several effects. If the intended effects are exactly the same, they will not stack. However, if they are of different runes, both will be applied with the base effect being casted once. Being the only class having innate healing abilities, the Monk is reliable for particularly trying boss battles.
When it comes to the Monk's skill tree, there is a multitude of compatible of combinations. For instance, Epiphany increases your Spirit regeneration per second by 20 and it allows you to instantly dash when attacking for 15 seconds. You may use this alongside Transcendence, which is a passive skill which heals for a set amount for every point of Spirit used. Count in Seize the Initiative, a skill which increases defense by the amount of your Dexterity, and you've got a formidable damage soaker.
Are You Fit to be a Monk?
So is the Monk class just the thing for you? That really depends on how much effort you are willing to exert into building your character. Unlike, say, the Crusader from the Reaper of Souls expansion, this class is not formidable to begin with. We're not saying that there is such a thing as an invincible class in Diablo 3, just that satisfaction when using the Monk class comes later on, when complementary skills have been acquired and the player has gotten used to queuing attacks. When using the Monk, you will need to make careful decisions on both skills to acquire and items to equip. Otherwise you may have trouble surviving solo early in the campaign and may end up getting quite frustrated. Nevertheless, it can become a reliable tank when properly built and its Mantras really shine when playing with friends.
The Round Up
To summarize, you should go for this well-rounded powerhouse if you are willing to put in the time to bring out the best in the class. You should also go for it if you enjoy using characters that prioritize maneuverability and efficient attacks over prolonged slug fests. Once leveled, this versatile class can soak up damage with a combination of defensive Skills as well as their base damage reduction. They can be formidable for both party and on Solo campaigns.
If you are an experienced player who wants to play as a new class and are looking for a Jack of all trades, then the Monk may very well be your perfect match.