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Monks, Or: The People of Paper

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Because they fold so easily.

 

Simply put, monks in the current system seem to have been backed into a corner. In a combat regime that rarely sees outright missed attacks, lightly armored brawlers just can't deal, at least if the game at this juncture is any indication. The ascetic martial artist is a well-worn but still potent archetype, and the professional flagellant concept that's been made for PoE is an interesting one, but unfortunately these guys just aren't any fun to play.

 

One imagines that monks are meant to be a "high risk / high reward" class, but in practice they're just high risk. If I'm understanding this correctly through play, the idea is that the wound-soak system is meant to be the monk's armor equivalent - that is, other characters see their incoming damage soaked via their armor's DT. Monks, having no armor, soak up a like portion of incoming damage as fuel for their talents, so in theory they shouldn't be at a particular disadvantage - in fact, their ability to soak damage without armor should be a significant positive, since they don't suffer armor-bound speed penalties.

 

However in practice this doesn't seem to be the case. A monk's damage soak is conditional - if you don't use your wound energy, it gets knocked out of your health bar instead. So monks play, as a dude on another forum put it, "hot potato" with the damage they receive, constantly expending energy or being punished for not doing so. They are by some measure the most micromanagement-dependent class of any I've tried so far (with the rogue a distant second).

 

I'm not sure how the math shakes out but one imagines that a monk, played suboptimally in any given situation, is treated within the game as a guy going into melee who is actually not wearing armor - they take a metric ton of damage in every fight. Frontline classes tend to take a lot of damage anyway, but monks, for whatever reason, get knocked out very easily even when their health stays at high levels (though this is just delayed, since the unused wounds will be taken out of health later on). A monk who's flanked is as good as meat. A monk with wounds who is made unable to use his talents, for whatever reason, could end up dead without a killing blow having landed.

 

Going into the beta, monks were the class I was most interested in, and the first one I played as. I soon dropped my guy for a paladin, and the game was much, much, much easier. It's possible, even probable that there are several unimplemented or unoptimized or just plain bugged features that would even the score for these guys and make them better functioning - the currently felt delays in combat commands hurt them pretty badly, for example. But at its core I'm just not sure the class can really work in this system, not in the seamless way other classes do. They're the runt of the litter.

 

Also it was strange and not a little frustrating to me that I would start a game and discover that 2 out of the 3 active talents usable by monks require a melee weapon. I don't know if Josh had covered this, but I've always liked the idea of a formidable hand-to-hand opponent in a setting dominated by weaponry, and it was a bit strange to see what was essentially an inverse of 3E D&D monk design, with most abilities actually disincentivizing HtH builds. Is it simply the case that the talents suited to slap-happy monks aren't implemented yet?

Edited by Pop
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Hey Pop, good read. Allow me to chime in as well!

 

I've only tested Monks out for my own PC. They seemed like the most intriguing class to me both combat and lore wise. 

 

Then after experimenting with the Monk, I realized that class isn't fully realized and fleshed out...

 

Actually, it seems like very little thought went into the skills and wound mechanic interaction of the Monk.

 

You gave some very clear arguments that I too have noticed.

 

There is too much conflict between the roles of the Fighter and Monk. To clarify, the Fighter has to TANK damage so the party doesn't get hurt. On the other hand, the Monk has to TAKE damage to DEAL damage. So what the hell are you supposed to do with a Monk and Fighter in your party? Who do you send first? You need send the Monk in so he can take damage to gain wounds. But what the hell is your fighter going to do? Just be an observer? Ok, role reversal time. You send the Fighter in so he tanks damage for everyone, but wait. The Monk needs to take some damage too bro...guess he is a bystander this time.

 

Ok...in other words, the Monk and Fighter are inadvertently clashing way too much in their roles. Only way to solve this is to get rid of your fighter and replace him with anybody else, preferably a Barbarian who doesn't want to take damage, but just deal it. 

 

 

Next up is that Monks are supposed to be weaponless and use light armor so they can do Kung Fu things!!! Like...you know...punch beetles and ogres, and a couple karate chops here and there. But wait, why do some of my abilities require A WEAPON? 

 

WTF? 

 

MAKES NO SENSE. This part gets me super mad. It's like...here some cool abilities you get when you don't use a weapon, here are some other abilities you get that are kinda cool, but oh wait bro you need to equip a weapon because...? BECAUSE WHAT JOSH SAWYER? WHY?

 

Literally goes against the entire idea of the Monk. Like a serious WTF right there. Huge red flag immediately when I realized you need to equip weapons to use some of the Monk's abilities...

 

Ok, what else gets me riled up about Monks...ahh oh yes the Wounds. Very little feedback about utilizing current wounds and spending them. Seems like it doesn't really do anything? In other words, my Monk is still getting messed up in fights and losing huge chunks of health when in reality that missing health should have not happened due to using Wounds? I don' t know, seems buggy or something else is happening? Just a really bad system in place for letting us know what the wounds are doing...

 

Ok so how should a Monk perform if balanced correctly?

 

Well a Monk should be able to:

 

  1. Not need any weapons at all and all his skills should have no weapon requirements
  2. Not conflict with fighter's role of tanking
  3. Be able to take a lot of damage, but turn that damage into wounds, and those wounds into abilities, and those abilities into killing monsters. 

This is how a Monk needs to work in sequential order:

 

  1. Monk engages fight
  2. Gets hit by a lot of enemies
  3. His stamina goes down (gets red over his portrait) 
  4. Turns that lost stamina (basically damage) into a wound resource (1,2,3 wounds etc)
  5. Uses wound resources with abilities that require wounds and damages enemies
  6. Basically his Stamina is healed (less red over portrait now) because he transferred that into a wound which then was put into an ability and repurposed as damaged. 

That's the jist of a Monk. You need to take a lot of damage (get a lot of Stamina lost, i.e. lots of red over your character Portrait). Turn that damage into wounds, and wounds into ability use which will then damage enemies. And the cycle repeats itself.

 

It's a neat twist because, with the Monk, you are like on the brink of the death sometimes, but not really since you have wounds which you can "abuse" so you won't die. If that makes sense lol. I mean, that's how the Monk should play. You need him to be almost dieing to get a lot of wounds, and then dish that suffering back onto his foes!!! HOW COOL IS THAT! But it seems like that mechanic isn't really fleshed out all at the moment, and I hope they fix it...

 

Ok I might have forgotten to say this but Monks are supposed to "feel" like they are squishy (made of paper, etc). But that's just a ruse to those nasty monsters out there in Pillars of Eternity. Monks turn their squishiness into wounds which fuels their damage and life points in a fight. The problem is the current iteration of Monks seems to make your Monk into a paper doll and that's it lol.

 

Also, it's important for the Monk to have high concentration so I think that high Resolve is legit on the Monk.

 

Anyone agree with all this crap that I just spouted out now lol...

Edited by TrueMenace
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Calibrating...

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I only tried a monk once and thought it worked out pretty well. He took a lot of punishment while dealing out the same; gut feeling was that he was more robust than BB Fighter, armor and all.

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Good posts above.  I only tried a monk once, but found it confusing trying to sort out how to use my wounds, how to know when I had wounds to use, and tripped up by the requirement to have melee weapons equipped.  I was doing decent damage without a weapon equipped, so was loathe to equip one.

 

I'm quite happy to accept that it could be user error, and I just don't know how to play a monk properly yet; so I'm not making any hasty judgements yet.  However, the feedback above makes much sense.  :)

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I haven't tried the monk and probably won't.  I appreciate the practical observations about the monk, nonetheless.  However, I will say in regards to Truemenace's post:  if you play with two characters who fulfill the same *basic* role in combat, then there will be times when one feels extraneous.  Just take MMORPGs as an example.  In a five person instance, you're going to have one tank, one healer, and three dps.  In a ten person raid, you're going to have two tanks, three healers, and five dps.  In a 25 man raid, you're probably going to have 2 or 3 tanks, 4-6 healers, and the rest dps.  In that dps mix, you'll want things like CC, interrupters, and specialty characters to take care of specific encounters.  In a single player RPG, you can get by with two tanks mixed with dps and healing, but you're going to run the risk in any encounter that one of your special team characters will be extraneous.  My take from Pop's original post is not that monks' abilities overlap with fighters but that monks are inferior to fighters in their main role and therefore are made extraneous by fighters in every situation.


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FYI - unarmed counts as a melee weapon.  It goes against conventions, so maybe the tooltip should be changed to say 'no ranged weapons'.

 

As far as feedback goes, I can definitely see the abilities as being strong (1.4x attack speed? 10+ sec stuns? Halve negative effect duration? yes please).

 

Wounds system needs improvement to effectively use abilities though.  Current implementation makes monks take too much damage if they get CC'd / combat ends / you blink.  Aggro management is currently an issue to make abilities available.  Not sure if they need a taunt at low level to make sure a character's attacking them?  Maybe we as players aren't effectively using the engagement system?

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Having tested the monk, I immediately came to one conclusion;

 

This mechanic belongs on a Beserker, not a monk.

 

Think about it.  Doing more damage as you take damage?  Triggering powerful abilities as your health trickles away.

It's basically the beserker arch type.

 

The problem I found with Monks was the level of mico management to keep them up was just insane.

You have to baby sit them constantly, watch their stamina, juggling abilities, I just didn't have much fun with them.

 

I don't really see at this point what they're bringing to the party.

 

 

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Having tested the monk, I immediately came to one conclusion;

 

This mechanic belongs on a Beserker, not a monk.

 

Think about it.  Doing more damage as you take damage?  Triggering powerful abilities as your health trickles away.

It's basically the beserker arch type.

 

The problem I found with Monks was the level of mico management to keep them up was just insane.

You have to baby sit them constantly, watch their stamina, juggling abilities, I just didn't have much fun with them.

 

I don't really see at this point what they're bringing to the party.

 

I think some kind of system like the chanter song system would help. Setting up a string of wound abilites that he circles through, you should be able to use them manualy to of course.

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I only tried a monk once and thought it worked out pretty well. He took a lot of punishment while dealing out the same; gut feeling was that he was more robust than BB Fighter, armor and all.

 

I've had a similarly positive experience with them. Setting the game to auto-pause whenever a character is injured drastically increases their efficiency.


"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

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I'll just copy-paste my complains about the Monk from a different thread here.

 

- Stunning Blow's description says it can only be used with a melee weapon. Same goes for Torment's Reach. If my Monk can attack from a distance and increase his or her attacks' reach at all, he/she should be able to do the same with his/her fists too. I'd suggest making these abilities weapon-independent, since they do sound good and I don't see why an unarmed Monk should be gimped in this manner.

 

- Which, I guess, boils down to the general problem I have with the Monk currently - namely, the (lack of) active ability variety.

 

In particular, if I want to (role-)play an unarmed monk, I currently only have 2 or 3 active abilities, at least of which one (Clarity of Agony) sounds extremely situational. In a setting that has soul powers ™, I would expect much more from a Monk (who, I'd assume, must've spent years mastering the power of his or her soul).

 

- My Monk has 14 INT, and yet the duration of the Stunning Blow ability shows up as the ridiculous 25.5 seconds for me. Granted, this is probably something of a placeholder in the current build, so I expect this to be fixed eventually.

 

- Finally, I am a bit concerned about the relative speed of combat/damage/healing vs. the speed at which you get wounds. I just worry the combat might be fast enough (not in real-time I mean, but relative to the attack and damage speed) that you just wouldn't have enough time to reliably use the more powerful abilities that require having several wounds at once.

Edited by Crooked Bee

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@Crooked Bee That's a bug in the description. "Melee weapon" includes fists. It just means it won't work with ranged weapons. I just tried Stunning Blow and it worked great.

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- My Monk has 14 INT, and yet the duration of the Stunning Blow ability shows up as the ridiculous 25.5 seconds for me. Granted, this is probably something of a placeholder in the current build, so I expect this to be fixed eventually.

 

It's my understanding that enemies can "roll save" repeatedly while being affected by status effects, therefore the theoretical duration rarely maps to how long it actually ends up lasting.


"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

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-snip

 

http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/66754-balancing-monks/?do=findComment&comment=1481549

Redundancy can't be helped in this forum, however I still think I should mention my thread.

 

 

This is how a Monk needs to work in sequential order:

 

  1. Monk engages fight
  2. Gets hit by a lot of enemies
  3. His stamina goes down (gets red over his portrait) 
  4. Turns that lost stamina (basically damage) into a wound resource (1,2,3 wounds etc)
  5. Uses wound resources with abilities that require wounds and damages enemies
  6. Basically his Stamina is healed (less red over portrait now) because he transferred that into a wound which then was put into an ability and repurposed as damaged.

 

That's not how they are supposed to work. You don't get healed by turning received damage into a wound, instead incoming damage is supposed to become a wound before it is applied. The wound stores it and damages you over time for the same value. It's a greater damage reduction than armor, but only if they are used up to have an effect, thus making armor not necessary. If you're taking damage, then either it's not implemented as it was announced or you already have wounds and the damage is excess, as you can only have a limited number of wounds at the same time.

 

FYI - unarmed counts as a melee weapon.  It goes against conventions, so maybe the tooltip should be changed to say 'no ranged weapons'.

 

As far as feedback goes, I can definitely see the abilities as being strong (1.4x attack speed? 10+ sec stuns? Halve negative effect duration? yes please).

 

Wounds system needs improvement to effectively use abilities though.  Current implementation makes monks take too much damage if they get CC'd / combat ends / you blink.  Aggro management is currently an issue to make abilities available.  Not sure if they need a taunt at low level to make sure a character's attacking them?  Maybe we as players aren't effectively using the engagement system?

 

I agree on the most part, especially the aggro management. Note that halving negative effects is actualy not only for cancelling debuffs but rather for damage reduction by halving the remaining time (= damage) of any other wounds you still have will using the ability.

 

Having tested the monk, I immediately came to one conclusion;

 

This mechanic belongs on a Beserker, not a monk.

 

Think about it.  Doing more damage as you take damage?  Triggering powerful abilities as your health trickles away.

It's basically the beserker arch type.

 

I disagree. The way I see berserkers mechanically is that they trigger abilites by having life under a certain, dangerous threshold. Monks are according to josh supposed to be weaker than the normal dps classes and mechanically they play more as a tank with an emphasis on special effects.  Berserkers focus an being aggressive, while monks focus on being defensive and turning the enemy against themselves.

Edited by Doppelschwert

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Monks need more feedback too. There should be a noticeable sound+visual effect when he gains a Wound. As it is you have to watch that Wound counter like a hawk or risk taking completely unnecessary damage.

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I ran beta through with monk, I has to say that their ability to take and deal damage seems to be very good. Although I found that I didn't like how wounds resource reset after every encounter, which made monks abilities in most cases less useful compared to other classes with tactics that I used.

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What's the health:stamina dmg taken ratio supposed to be for monks?  I'm finding it's currently 1 health lost per 3 stamina lost.  I was under the impression it was supposed to be 1:4.

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Thanks for a thread about monks! I've not seen nor heard anything about them from the beta and I've been hoping to hear about them. They're also my fav class I usually like playing too. I also agree there should be way more automatic functionality with them, especially with the gaggle of npc's and enemies on screen. That's going to just be a cluster mess in the end trying to micromanage. I am open minded about their idea of what makes a fun monk, however based upon what I'm reading about the wounds and having to spend those wounds doesn't sound so fun to me. If they were going to do a similar mechanic, I actually prefer it to be similar to how the rogue played in WoW. Granted, I haven't played WoW since vanilla, so things might have changed. Basically, I like the idea of earning points based upon finishing off enemies, or by earning combo points that allow for either bigger hits, or longer duration on my stuns. I'm also not fond of having to use weapons. If anything, I'd rather they had their own weapon types, like gauntlets they wield or shoes with knives in the toes or something.

 

Have ya seen those video's of Bruce Lee doing his one inch or six inch punch that knock people across the room? He's taking on like 17 guys at once and never getting hit, & when he hits, he's opening a can of whoopass! Have ya ever seen Shaolin monks train? They can literally punch bricks to rubble from inches away, and take a blade to their neck without bleeding. They're also very evasive. I guess what I'm saying is instead of monks needing to get hit, they have much resolve and discipline that indicates they probably do much better the less they get hit. I feel like a much better game mechanic is you dodge a lot, you earn combo points or whatever you call them, and open the whammy! Fighter's can still take the damage and hold the line, and monk's can be decent damage dealers or cc support class. 

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has anyone considered the monk as an off-tank, charging off to the sides to take on solo opponents?

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Monks need more feedback too. There should be a noticeable sound+visual effect when he gains a Wound. As it is you have to watch that Wound counter like a hawk or risk taking completely unnecessary damage.

 

Where is the wound counter?  I couldn't see any feedback telling me if or how many wounds my Monk had.  Probably didn't know where to look, but appreciate any advice!  Thanks

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Monks need more feedback too. There should be a noticeable sound+visual effect when he gains a Wound. As it is you have to watch that Wound counter like a hawk or risk taking completely unnecessary damage.

 

Where is the wound counter?  I couldn't see any feedback telling me if or how many wounds my Monk had.  Probably didn't know where to look, but appreciate any advice!  Thanks

 

Wound counter is under the character portrait

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