I've been thinking about how to optimise a heavy armoured monk build for the past few days. What I have in mind is Heavy Plate, Dual Wield Durgan Sabres, Iron Wheel – somebody that I can basically throw in to combat on AI and forget about.
At the moment the attribute spread I'm considering is roughly as follows:
In terms of Monk abilities I can't make up my mind between taking Swift Strikes and Torment's reach or just relying on Torment's reach.
Bear in mind when dual wielding all recovery/attack speed bonuses are effectively halved in value. If I'm having trouble generating wounds with Heavy Plate + Iron Wheel I can always just manually provoke disengagement attacks.
To optimise swift strikes you need the lightning strikes talent (on my build it only last 6.5 secs, 7.5 with +2 Int). A higher intellect will necessitate lowering both Dexterity (Overall action speed - which is what swift strikes grants at the cost of 1 wound) and Perception (More accuracy extremely useful with Durgan Crit Annihilation Sabres). Might can't be lowered because it's uber important to optimise lashes+higher sabre base damage and Monks need the CON to take damage.
Torment's reach is a full attack so when dual wielding is effectively 2 attacks + 1 ordinary attack vs 50% DR – all with the recovery frame of only 1 attack (1 Attack + 1 Attack + (50% Crush Lash vs 25% DR) + (50% Crush Lash vs 25%DR): Recovery = ordinary recovery for one attack). Is this correct? There's also the AOE ...
So let's take a Hypothetical Example:
A monk with 5 wounds, stats described as above, with dual sabres, Turning Wheel and with a 0.9 recovery modifier.
Without Swift Strikes and Lightning Strikes this char will have modified attack and recovery frames of 30/27 and when you apply the dex bonus (let's say with a +3 dex item = 21% action speed) you get 47 frames total between each auto-attack (24.6/22.1). With Swift Strikes you get modified frames of 30/19.5 and with Dex Bonus added on it's 41 frames (24.6/16.1). So, swift strikes reduces time between auto attacks in my example by 0.2 seconds.
Assuming my character has 5 wounds, turning wheel, the enemy has completely equal DRs and other equal factors that would be present in both examples (e.g. weapon lashes) aren't taken in to account:
If I expend 4 wounds spamming Torment's Reach I get: 1.25(1+1+1.5) + 1.20(1+1+1.5) + 1.15(1+1+1.5) + 1.10(1+1+1.5) = 4.375 + 4.2 + 4.025 + 3.85 = 16.45 Attacks worth of damage. The "1.5" in this example represents the crushing lashes which are effectively a normal attack made at 50% DR. This is 24.6*8 frames of attacking + 22.1*3 frames of recovery = 196.8 + 66.3 = 263 frames = 8.7 seconds.
If I expend 4 wounds to cast Lightning Strikes and 3 Torment's reaches I get: 1.45(3.5) + 1.40(3.5) + 1.35(3.5) = 5.075 + 4.8 + 4.725 = 14.6 attacks worth of damage. Recovery from casting lightning strikes is instantaneous as far as I know so I'll give it the benefit of the doubt and won't count it. This is 24.6*6 frames of attacking + 16.1*2 frames of recovery = 147.6 + 32.2 = 180 Frames = 6 seconds. If you wanted to throw another torments reach in it'd be 245 frames (8.16 seconds) and 5 wounds, but even with an extra +2 int in my example you might only catch one of the hits.
From this I think we can maybe extrapolate a few things:
- On a low int monk, even with a +2 intellect bonus, swift and lightning strikes don't seem to be worth it. Reducing Perception by 7 for -7 accuracy and increasing intellect by 7 to 10 for ten second swift strikes/lightning strikes wouldn't be worth it either I don't think – at least on a build designed to utilise Durgan Crits + Annihilation Sabres. This math is beyond me though the fact that criticals will really help to pierce damage reduction is something that would be taken in to account.
- Dexterity actually gives you a greater benefit when the total number of frames of attack and recovery are higher so reducing dexterity to raise intellect up to ten doesn't seem to be worth it on this build, even with the +0.25 damage of lightning strikes. It may be worth it to reduce dex and perception if your monk was using fists – these have a a lower total number of frames and less reliance on crits for damage. You could easily pump intellect up to 18 and benefit from super long swift/lightning strikes where the DOT could pay off - though you lose base weapon lashes also.... Doing the math on that kind of build vs this kind of one is a bit beyond me but it would definitely be able to take advantage of CC like Force of Anguish and Rooting Pain which this one can't.
- Even assuming you're spamming perfectly (which, let's face it, after CC, enemies dying etc ... isn't going to happen a lot) swift/lightning strikes on low int still probably isn't worth it and you're probably better off taking an extra ability and talent (maybe Bull's will) on a low int build.
- Swift strikes/Lightning Strikes will always be completely useless on a low int monk unless you're taking advantage of the reduced recovery time of full attacks (Torment's Reach). Even then, I think the math above shows that you're probably just better spamming another torment's reach and taking your extra ability+talent.
- Sanguine Plate's Frenzy would be a fairly effectively substitute for swift strikes+lightning strikes (the speed bonuses don't stack I think): longer base effect, no wound cost, activates automatically, increased survivability from CON Bonus and big fortitude saves.