Wait, why is a PLD in a monk thread? It's not even the same game! But that's fine because this guide is dedicated to Buront-san, a knight made of iron ingot of gold, a monk class irl that regularly scores 100 on punching machines, and an inspiration to all tanks.
Table of Contents
1. Foreword and Disclaimer [FnD]
2. Pros and Cons of Monks [PnC]
3. So why do you want to be a monk? [WaM]
4. What is a build? [WaB]
5. Stats and What They Mean for Monks [SfM]
6. Skills and Suggestions [SnS]
7. Skills Progression [SkP]
8. Build Types [BTp]
9. Runes and Equips [RnE]
10. Hit/Haste/Vigor vs Dodge/Parry [AvD]
11. What to Look for in Cards [CrD]
12. Various Tidbits [VTb]
13. Summon Spirit Sphere Analysis [SSA]
14. Footnote [FtN]
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Foreword and Disclaimer [FnD]
First generation monks (players that started as monks and continue to main them) are few and a secretive lot. However, to help new players understand why we do what we do (and keep them from PMing me in the forums), I decided to use this guide to shed some light on monks. At the end of the day however, you will have to do your own research on how to best complement your play style. Who knows? You may find something we didn’t consider before.
I do not claim to know all there is to know about monks, but I will share what I do know. Correct me if I’m wrong at any point, and I will tweak this guide. Also, I may lapse into RPing as Buront-san from time to time. It's just easier that way to explain some things.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Pros and Cons of Monks [PnC]
-Tough with a good overall survivability
-Fastest normal attack speed among tanks, 2nd among all classes
-Quick skill execution
-Low recovery time between skill
-Lowest base ATK compared to other tanks
-Limited AoE, max 3 targets at any time
-No AGI in equipment (may change in future, but we won’t talk about that)
-No party support skills, even BMs have something to contribute
-Bottom tier in PvP, competing to get out of last place with knights
-A bit of a learning curve
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------So why do you want to be a monk? [WaM]
As you can see, we monks really have nothing going for us except toughness, so why would you want to be one? We are one of the most underrated classes to be mained. To tell the truth, I became a monk because I wanted to relive my old monk days (was a solo AGI hybrid monk in RO). I didn’t know what I was getting into.
As I learned eventually, you do not become a monk to be praised. Those who praise you are monks themselves and know the hardships you go through to get where you are. If you are a strong monk, you don’t explain your strength through words. Instead, talk with your fists and body of steel. That body of steel is what your party depends on in boss fights since you won’t go down easily. You may not be able to support them like other tanks, but at least you can take a beating and keep the heat off them.
Being a monk is suffering, but you become a monk because you want to. So despite all our downfalls and limited ability…
When you talk to people about builds, most will tell you about skills and points to invest in your class. That’s true. I would like to add that runes, cards, titles, and equips are part of your build. While titles and equips are more or less static variables in a build, it’s important to factor them in because your overall strength comes from these as well.
What you do have the most control over other than stat points and skills are runes and cards. I will not make specific recommendations about runes and cards. That is your job to figure out. What I will tell you is what to look for when choosing a rune and card to put in your build.
Here’s a brief explanation about stats and what they mean for monks.
STR and INT – Increases ATK and parry and is your main source of ATK since weapons have a low base ATK.
AGI – Increases Crit and Dodge. Your only sources of these will come from stat points, titles, Colo accessories, cards, and runes.
WIS – We don’t talk about WIS.
VIT – Increases HP. You get a lot from equips, so increasing this through stat points is debatable since you need a lot of it and may sacrifice too much of another stat. Regardless, it's the only other way to get beefier other than upgrading your equipment.
Common point spreads for monks are as follows, the first two being STR/INT always and the rest being whatever you want:
40 STR, 40 INT, 8 AGI/VIT
33 STR, 33 INT, 32 AGI/VIT
19 STR, 19 INT, 50 AGI/VIT
30 STR & INT, 25 AGI & VIT
When investing in stats, think of them as runes. Is it worth putting points there? How will it help at end game?
No matter which stats you decide to invest in, keep STR and INT balanced. The reason for this is because as stats increase, the points to invest into them also increase. By keeping both balanced, you minimize the point expenditure while maximizing the benefits given by STR and INT.
Truth be told, your skill build isn’t going to be that much different from one monk to the next. If we had access to acolyte skills, we’d see a little more variation, but that’s not the case. So this section will focus on Core skills, skills you need to survive. For the other skills, I’ll give my recommendations for each so that you can decide which ones to invest in. I will not mention Spiritual Cadence because it’s already maxed by the time you job change.
Passively increases base Defense by up to 50%.
Max this. This is part of why you’re so tough when using Steel Body.
Increases base Defense by up to 200%, base HP by 35%, and gain Threat at x3 damage done, all at the cost of 10% ATK. Also, Protection Ki does not use a sphere if this is active.
Whether you’re a “DPS”, main tank, or off tank, you will need this maxed for durability. At higher ATK, you do lose a lot of power, but a monk that dies fast is good to no one since you’ll be as squishy as a wizard without it.
Deals up to 25% of your ATK as damage and gain 1 sphere.
Max this as it essentially will be your normal attack.
Uses 3 spheres. Deal up to 47% of your ATK as damage and hits up to 3 enemies in front of you.
Max this because this is your secondary DPS skill and will increase your overall base DPS.
Uses 3 spheres. Increases ATK by up to 30% of your base ATK. Usable every 60 seconds.
A monk’s ATK is low enough as it is. You’ll want this maxed in order you fully take advantage of Guillotine Fist and the buff itself when you’re not using Guillotine Fist. At full Colo gears and the right cards, you should hit 2.7k ATK with Steel Body active (3k without Steel Body). If you have Battle Order, Dragonology, or food/potion buffs that increase ATK, this skill will multiply those ATK also.
Must be in Fury Explosion to use.Stuns your target for the duration of the animation and deals up to 120% of your ATK as damage. Usable every 60 seconds.
Other than being a monk’s signature skill, you will want this maxed for two reasons. One, it increases your overall DPS. Two, it’s a good way to gain Threat quickly when tanking. As an added note to this skill, the true power of this skill is about 156% maximum since Fury Explosion is always active when you use this skill. With Steel Body on, this multiplier becomes 144%. This is also a monk’s only CC and a very limited one at that.
Summon Spirit Sphere
Instantly refreshes the cooldown of all skills (except Intimidation). Usable every 240 - 120 seconds.
It’s debatable whether or not to max this skill because you may not use it as soon as it’s off cooldown unless you’re in a raid. It is recommended to have this at least at lv1 because an instant refresh on your skills is useful. See the analysis below for more details.
Uses 1 sphere unless Steel Body is active. Reduces all damage by 50% for 10 seconds. This includes DoT effects. Usable every 120 seconds.
I didn’t include this in the core build because not everyone may need this maxed. I do recommend maxing this because it helps in raids and PvP.
Increases Dodge up to a flat +20% for 10 seconds. Usable every 60 seconds.
This skill is a love it or hate it for many new and veteran monks. When it works, you will survive skills that will oneshot even the toughest of tanks. When it doesn’t work, you as well not have it to begin with. Keep in mind though that the way to maximize the effectiveness of this skill is to have some Dodge in your equips and/or a high AGI. The downside is that it only lasts 10 seconds, and you’re playing with RNG. Your choice whether or not you even want to touch this skill.
Deals up to 21% of ATK as damage and gains 2 spheres. Usable every 6 seconds.
This skill is used mainly to gain 2 spheres quickly. When kept at lv1, you will lose DPS if you use this as soon as it’s up. At max, your DPS will barely break even when using the normal skill rotation. The best way to use this skill is to utilize it to get Fury Explosion up fast. In Colo, you may want to utilize this skill more to get Tackle ready at a moment’s notice. Otherwise, spamming Raging Blow is most likely your best bet to maintain DPS. I recommend keeping this at lv1 unless you’re planning to maximize DPS. See the Various Tidbits below for details.
Taunt the enemy to attack you. In a party, your Threat becomes equal plus an additional 10% of the highest Threat member. Usable every 20 - 8 seconds.
This is a nice skill to use in the field, Colo, and raids for luring and regaining Threat. When farming, use this to lure aggressive mobs towards you one by one. In Colo, use this as a gap closer for mobs. If you’re a main tank for a boss and you find yourself being out threatened by the DPS, you may want to increase this to max. However, I do not recommend leveling up this skill past lv1. If you’re doing your job as main tank correctly, you will never be out threatened by any DPS unless they just have really crazy crit. Again, recommended to leave this at lv1.
Instantly teleport to a target, deal up to 25% ATK as damage, and gain 1 sphere. Usable every 60 - 20 seconds.
If you’re going to specialize in Colo, you may want to max this skill to chase mobs and players down faster. For tanking, this is pretty much near useless. It’s also near useless in farming mobs other than as a flashy, quick way to move from one spot to another. It’s up to you how much you want to invest in this skill, but you’ll probably have it at least at lv1 for TSS. Keep in mind that skill tends to bug. You will teleport, but the skill will not connect therefore you will not do damage and will not get a sphere.
Throw Spirit Sphere
Deals up to 26% ATK as damage, gains 1 sphere, and adds a state on the target that increases damage of monk attack skills by 10% for 15 seconds. Usable every 10 seconds.
Unless you’re maximing DPS, leaving this at lv1 is plenty good. What this essentially means is that you can permanently keep the increased damage state on the target provided you don’t miss. You know that Guillotine Fist that dealt 3000 damage? It will now deal up to 3300 damage while that state in on the target. It’s also good for tagging monsters from far away.
Deals up to 20% ATK as damage to up to 3 enemies around you. Gains an extra 50% Threat. Usable every 3 seconds.
While Tackle is an AoE skill that focuses in front of you, Lightning Crush is an AoE skill that affects up to 3 targets around you. The damage isn’t great nor is the number of targets it can hit. My recommendation is to leave it at lv1. Even if you have extra points to spend, consider your options before you decide to put more points into this skill.
There are many ways to go about this, but this is my recommendation which focuses more on PvE.
Ideal skills for lv25:
This lv25 build is made with the idea of giving you the maximum defense possible for survivability and focus on core skills for sustained DPS.
After lv25, my recommended skill path for PvE is max Tackle -> max Fury Explosion -> get 1 point in SSS -> max Guillotine Fist
From there, you can branch out to whatever you want.
Another recommendation is this by DatMONkey.
Recommended progression: MAX Heavy Tackle -> MAX Fury -> MAX Guillotine Fist
From here what you skill depends on whether you will Colo ASAP or not.
If Colo: MAX Lightning Walk -> MAX Summon Spirit Sphere/Ki Protection side by side. Last 2 Points can go to Flee preferably or TSS/LW
If no Colo then the skilling is more dependent on your own needs. I would advise to have max PK by Cursed Ghost Ship/Verta Delta Area.
This section focuses on what I think are the core skills for various builds. When all is said and done though, you're not going to be that much different from one monk to another.
This focuses on maximum defenses needed for tanking. If you don’t plan to have a decent amount of Dodge (at least 5-10%), you can skip Flee and get something else.
Typical DPS (there is no such thing)
This focuses on maximum DPS at the cost of Protection Ki and Flee. Despite the 10% ATK reduction from Steel Body, you will need it if you want to live. No exceptions. If you go “DPS” without learning Steel Body, I will hunt you down and GFist you so hard that you will eat hospital food irl in a hospital because that’s exactly how frail you’ll be without it.
This focuses on high mobility for chasing/escaping in Colo. Even with lv5 Lightning Walk, you can’t be reckless. Patience is a must when doing Colo regardless of build type.
While there’s not much variety, you can get some sort of balance despite the limited skill set. My best advice here is build to your play style. I’ve seen builds where core skills are not maxed yet works for that particular player because there is a balance in skills.
Pick whatever runes you want for your play style. If you want more ATK and Parry, STR/INT are your runes. If you want to crit and dodge, go for AGI. If you need to be a little more beefy, VIT. That’s all there is to it.
As for equips, the usual equipment progression is fine.
At lv50, the base hit rate is going to be a little under 95%. While it doesn’t sound too bad, experience has proven that 5% lost hit rate to be quite annoying and deadly in certain situations since it hampers your overall DPS.
If you never main tank, it can be argued that pure Haste/Vigor sets will benefit you the most since your Hit increases and you will actually land more punches on your target. Even if you do plan to main tank, I would advise against using pure Dodge/Parry equipment because every time you miss is lost Threat and a chance for DPS to catch up on your Threat. You can still main tank with pure Haste/Vigor equipment. Parry won’t be affected too much, but your Dodge will take a huge hit compared to adding some Dodge/Parry equipment.
Use whatever fits your play style, but I would recommend tanks mix up equipment to find what works best for them.
You’ll probably be using Scratch Thief cards as soon as you hit lv50, but you’ll eventually want to replace them. I won’t recommend specific cards here because I don’t want to influence the market. I will say though that monks have a lot of options compared to other classes because all stats are useful to us (DPS classes will usually go for STR/AGI since INT is useless to them; swordies, STR/INT/AGI/VIT like monks but probably more focus on INT/AGI; mages, INT and AGI and maybe VIT to meet raid requirements).
If you want a higher ATK, find cards that have a high STR + INT total. If you want to crit/dodge more, find cards that have a lot of AGI. Want to be more beefy? Find cards with high VIT.
Summon Spirit Sphere Analysis [SSA]
I decided to look into Summon Spirit Sphere objectively to see if it is what it's cracked up to be. We all know that Summon Spirit Sphere (SSS) is supposed to help monks refresh all of their skills and can be used to get high CD skills off faster such as Fury Explosion/Guillotine Fist (FE/GF) and Protection Ki (PK). But just how much of a difference does it make?
First thing's first, let's set a time limit. Currently, a normal raid boss takes about 10-15 minutes to down. So we'll randomly pick a number there and say...12 minutes. We'll look at how often you can pull off FE/GF and PK in that amount of time.
These are the base numbers of how many times you can pull them off if you use these as soon as they come off cooldown:
Fury Explosion/Guillotine Fist: 12
Protection Ki: 6
Now we're going to use the above skills as soon as they come off cooldown and refresh them immediately if SSS is available. Each block is worth 30 seconds. Fury Explosion will be used every 30 seconds for efficiency and Guillotine Fist will follow ASAP. Protection Ki only lasts 10 seconds, but the blocks still represent 30 seconds of passing time.
Below are the results.
Fury Explosion/Guillotine Fist
Results in Tabulated Form
Okay, so what does all of this mean?
In a nutshell, getting at least lv1 SSS will result in 2 more FE/GF and PK over 12 minutes. However, lv5 SSS isn't necessarily that much better than lv1 SSS.
At lv5 SSS, you get a one more FE/GF use compared to lv1, and you didn't need lv5 SSS to even get that since lv4 was enough.
The same story can be seen with lv5 SSS when using Protection Ki. However in that case, you're really not using it as soon as it comes off cooldown since it's more of a defensive stance when you're getting pounded or expecting a huge attack to come. Either way, actual usage is lower since you won't be spamming it as much as FE/GF.
So why max out SSS at all? Sure it feels like you're getting off GFs more often, but all lv5 SSS really means is that you have it ready sooner to be able to use it at a moment's notice. However, if you stick with lv1 SSS, you may have to use it as soon as possible to make the best use of it otherwise you're waiting a whole 4 minutes instead of 2 minutes to get it ready for an emergency.
So what's the optimum level for SSS? Findings above says lv4 gets you the best balance of cooldown and uses for your long CD skills, even lv3 if you don't mind the loss of 1 FE/GF. In the end though, the level of SSS is whatever you're comfortable with. Regardless, every monk should get this at least lv1 because it does help. From there, you can use points to keep leveling this skill or save them for something else depending on your goals.
Bless and Steel Body
Bless = HP + (HP x 0.15)
Steel Body = HP + (HP x 0.35)
Bless + Steel Body = HP + (HP x 0.35) + (HP x 0.15) = HP + (HP x 0.45)
If you have VIP on, the final HP value gets multiplied by 110%.
Iron Skin and Steel Body
Iron Skin = Defense + (Defense x 0.5)
Steel Body = Defense + (Defense x 3)
Iron Skin + Steel Body = Defense + (Defense x 0.5) + (Defense x 3) = Defense + (Defense x 3.5)
Because monks use cloth armor, monk defense is VERY low at its base. This is why Iron Skin and Steel Body are important for monks and why our Defense is so high. Remember to convert your base defense to % by dividing by 43.68 (for lv50). Also, seeing a pattern how things are multiplied? If you have Earth Shield on, your defense multiplier would be 3.7.
Maximum Damage Reduction at 50% Defense
Givens: 50% Defense, Protection Ki (50% DMG reduction), Parry (50% DMG reduction at proc)
Math: 1 - 0.50 x 0.50 x 0.50 = 0.875 => 87.5% damage reduction
True Power of Fury Explosion
Fury Explosion = ATK + (ATK * 0.3)
Steel Body = ATK – (ATK * 0.1)
Fury Explosion + Steel Body = ATK – (ATK * 0.1) + (ATK * 0.3) = ATK + (ATK * 0.2)
Essentially with Steel Body active, your ATK increases by x1.2 of your base ATK.
Hypothetical Average Monk DPS Comparisons
Assumptions: Raging Blow lv5, Heavy Tackle lv5, Crushing Blow lv1, Fury Explosion lv5, Guillotine Fist lv5, Steel Body active when calculating Fury Explosion, normal attacks activate every 1.4s (whole numbers only), normal attacks deal 10% of ATK
Time data is based on my own research.
Combo 1: Raging Blow x3 => Heavy Tackle
Total Time = 4.8s
(25% x 3 + 47% + [4.8/1.4] x 10%) / 4.8 = 31.6%
Combo 2: Raging Blow => Crushing Blow => Heavy Tackle
Total Time = 3.7s
(25% + 14% + 47% + [3.7/1.4] x 10%) / 3.7 = 28.6%
Combo 3: Raging Blow x3 => Fury Explosion => Guillotine Fist
Total Time = 7.9s
(25% x 3 + 1.2 x 1.2 + [7.9/1.4] x 10%) / 7.9 = 34%
Combo 4: Raging Blow =>Crushing Blow => Fury Explosion => Guillotine Fist
Total Time = 6.8s
(25% + 14% + 1.2 x 1.2 + [6.8/1.4] x 10%) / 6.8 = 32.7%
Adjusted DPS with Throw Spirit Sphere Modifier
Combo 1: 31.6% x 1.1 = 34.7%
Combo 2: 28.6% x 1.1 = 31.4%
Combo 3: 34% x 1.1 = 37.4%
Combo 4: 32.7% x 1.1 =35.9%
Adjusted DPS with Fury Explosion and Throw Spirit Sphere
Combo 1: 31.6% x 1.1 x 1.2 = 41.7%
Combo 2: 28.6% x 1.1 x 1.2 = 37.7%
Combo 3: “magic, -1.3s” = 47%
Combo 4: “magic, -1.3s” = 45.3%
There are so many things that factors in DPS even at base values, so we’ll just stop there. It’s also not constant since DPS is a dynamic thing. Do it in your free time if you’re really curious, or just take your Threat at the end of the battle, divide by 3 if using Steel Body, divide that over the amount of time elapsed, and scale that to your ATK. Keep in mind that if you use Fury Explosion or crit, you’re playing with too many variables and it just gets confusing.
If monk DPS looks low, keep in mind that our skill execution and delay are the fastest among tanks. While other tanks get a higher ATK than monks, it is offset by our overall attack/skill speed. The only tank classes that have a good chance of dealing more DPS than monks are knights and warriors with Battle Tactics and specially built as such. However, that's a different topic for a different time.
I planned on doing a more in-depth analysis in this guide looking at various topics, but this should do for now. If the discussion warrants it, I and other monks can explain/discuss it then, and it will be incorporated in this guide.
Thanks for reading and I hope it helps some. Now I have a shady job to attend to… I am never making a guide again. orz
Edited by Rukaroa, 29 July 2013 - 02:02 AM.