My last major post here was a little over a year ago and revolved around EoK-era strats. RoS has changed a bit of the game for us and I've had a few people asking about the new stuff, so I felt I should revamp the strat and consolidate some of the posts as well as my own findings. TBL might change the game again, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. As before, if there's anything that is wrong or could be done differently, by all means post it. This isn't the be-all end-all way to play a monk, it's just the way I play mine. A lot of this is applicable to raids, but I'm also adding in a group perspective to it as well. Bear in mind, this is all coming from a fully raid-geared toon, so scale accordingly. Monk is a difficult class to play effectively. There are so many combinations of abilities and disciplines we have, and using the wrong one at the wrong time is going to give you sub-par results. Two equally geared monks will have wildly different parses (beyond RNG) simply because they have different styles of playing, or might not know what works with what. I think the consolidations in the past year or two have had a good impact on the class by making it easier to play, which is going to raise the skill floor. Played properly, monks can be near the top of the parse on raids and in groups. Played improperly, and people are curious as to why monk is a class that's played at all. If it's at all possible to talk shop with the devs about monks, I try to direct the discussion towards making the class easier to play overall. We don't need more abilities, we need fewer things to figure out (Ton Po, Vehement Rage). I hope this post helps shed light on the class. Mash Key A mash key is a great way to break your keyboard while at the same time maximizing DPS. I use E for my mash key, and have all keys for a hotbar bound to it. The order of the mash key seems to matter - if you're finding that a particular ability of yours isn't being activated, it's probably due to the order of it. Here is mine, in order. I've kept Flying Kick and Tiger Claw in there despite them being on auto-activate (hold right click on icon, click Auto Activate) for two reasons - the first being I'm fairly lazy and haven't removed it, the second being sometimes I forget to hit autoattack and this way I'll still be able to DPS. Flying Kick (auto-activated) Drunken Monkey Style Zan Fi Whistle Firewalker's Synergy Tiger Claw (auto-activated) Hoshkar's Fang Firestorm of Fists Curse of the Thirteen Doomwalker's Precision Vigorous Shuriken Intimidation Two Finger Wasp Aggro Monks generate hate. A lot of hate. Ideally, your main tank is one that can control aggro to keep a mob properly aligned. But let's face it, happens and you're going to grab aggro. Silent Strikes, while nice, doesn't do enough. The cooldown on it is too long, the duration of it is too short, and the effectiveness of it is not aligned with our current aggro-generating capacity. I'll typically use this when I'm going full-bore on a burn, but I don't rely on it to keep me safe. Keep an eye on the aggro meter. If you're uncomfortable with being hit by whatever it is you're hitting, feign death / imitate death to lower your aggro. Our main aggro-generating abilities are Five Point Palm (FPP) and our breastplate (BP) click. FPP is just a one-shot ability every 5 minutes and will usually be enough to take control of a mob on the loose. It can jump you from 50%+ aggro to 100%. Ideally your tank has enough aggro that it'll only bring you up to 60%, but you never know. The BP click, on the other hand, will take aggro. It procs based on kicks, so you'll either get a lot of them at once if you're burning with Heel and kicking a lot, or it will proc in waves as you naturally cycle through your kicks. When using either of these abilities, treat it as if you're guaranteed to grab aggro. I talk a lot about pairing things together to maximize effectiveness. The damage from the BP doesn't get amped up by anything (I think?), as such it doesn't need to be paired with anything in that regard. However, as you're practically guaranteed to grab aggro, I almost always pair it with Earthforce simply to keep myself alive. Earthforce is strong enough to keep you alive vs. a good portion of the most difficult (raid) mobs, at least long enough to mend / FD. I will rarely, if ever, use the BP on a burn due to the risk of pulling aggro and dying. It's simply not worth it. I've always felt that throttling ones aggro is a hindrance to a raid force. If a main tank can't keep aggro, you're not doing anyone any favours by holding your DPS back so they can keep it. Having said that, we can still try to time our aggro-generating abilities like the BP or FPP so that they land at a good time for the tank. Ideally, not at the beginning of a fight while aggro is still being generated. Burns Burns have remained more or less the same in the past few expansions. We get upgrades to our discs every once in a while in the form of AAs. This, in my opinion, is a better way to do it than to release a new spell every year to collect. No chasing Rk1, 2, or 3, and no 'downgrading' from 3 to 2, especially if you're not in a situation where you can obtain one of the coveted new rank 3 spells. Keeping it to an AA allows each person to upgrade and remain more or less in the same position they were in with the prior expansion. Plus, it's much easier to raid HoT for that Ironfist Rk 3 disc than it is to get Goldenfist Rk 3 from whichever new expansion comes out. As in my other posts, pairing certain abilities with certain discs maximizes your DPS. If you have a disc that increases the number of hits you do per minute (Speed Focus), using an ability that adds damage to each hit you do (Dichotomic) is going to do well. Using that same ability with a disc that also increases the amount of damage you do per hit (Ironfist) is not going to be as effective. You should also be aware of the various cycles of ADPS, both internal and external. More or less, your best discs are going to be on the longest timers, and anything that is going to amplify them is going to be on a shorter timer. The amplifying abilities work well with multiple disciplines, but aren't long enough to last through chaining - you can't run Dicho with Heel and expect it to last through an immediate cast of Speed once Heel is done. Fortunately, we have secondary disciplines that can be used while we wait for the timers of our amplifying abilities to become available again - Eye of the Storm and Earthforce fit in well here. The burn combinations I use regularly are noted below. The click order should be from the longest-duration to the shortest duration, and isn't necessarily the order I list them in (discipline may not be first). Heel, Dicho, Infusion of Thunder, Second Spire Speed, Dicho, Infusion of Thunder, Second Spire, Ton Po's Stance (Optional: (Focused) Destructive Force (conflicts with Ton Po)), (Optional: Dragon's Balance) Terrorpalm, Dicho, Infusion of Thunder, Second Spire, (Focused) Destructive Force, Dragon's Balance (Optional: Ton Po's Stance (conflicts with (Focused) Destructive Force) Ironfist, Crane Stance Dicho and IoT are used any time additional hits are generated. First Spire can be used in place of Second (I have yet to see a parse comparing the two, so my choice of Second over First is purely anecdotal). Eye of the Storm or Earthforce (or both) should be used in between these as often as possible. This allows things like Dicho, IoT, and external ADPS like epics refresh. Sometimes I'll use Earthforce > Eye > Earthforce between heavier burns, depending on what the situation calls for. These abilities all have different durations and different cooldowns. Sometimes you're going to be able to use them as needed, other times they'll be unavailable and you'll have to substitute something else. If something like Dicho is 30 seconds away from being available, I'll wait those 30 seconds. If something like Destructive Force is unavailable for 2 minutes, I might use Ton Po in its place instead, and pair Destructive Force with something else (Terror or Speed, for example). It's rare for me to click off a discipline in favour of another, especially in a raid. The increased DPS from using a more favourable burn is usually not enough to make up for the lost DPS down the line. If your raid is in trouble and your raid leader calls for a heavy burn, use your heavy burn. Otherwise, keep on trucking. Crane Stance is a great one to pair with Ironfist, and is one of the only ways to get the maximum hit for it. But with a 5 minute refresh, you can use it in almost all of your burns. Don't be afraid of 'wasting' it with a Speed Focus burn, despite Speed not amping it up at all. You could save it for Eye or Earthforce, but in my experience delay in waiting for the best possible time results in lower damage overall. Poisons Use them! Get rid of the mentality of saving these for the 'best time' to use them. I have hundreds of these stored up because I've waited to use them instead of just used them. Endurance Dead DPS is no DPS, especially for melee classes. Your haste is capped below 100%, your endurance is at 0, you're buffless, you're more susceptible to dying again, and our endurance-gaining abilities are mostly geared towards being used without rez effects on. Simply put, do not die. If you don't die, you shouldn't run out of endurance. We have a fantastic amount of endurance available to us. Swift Tails' Chant (STC), new with RoS, and recently-ish updated to last twice as long, returns a crazy amount of endurance if used properly. "Crazy amount" as in I've gone from 40% to 100% in one use. Use this during burns for maximum effectiveness. It should be the only thing you need to keep endurance for the duration of an event, as long as you haven't died. If I'm in for a longer event (20+ minutes), I might try to use it around the 70% mark, then again whenever it's up. Otherwise, I'll keep it saved for when I, or a group-mate, really need some extra endurance. Breather / Hiatus. Hiatus is terrible - reduced damage, and a long cooldown on the same timer as Breather. I never use it; I stick with Breather. With most raid bosses above the Imitate Death level, the strategy of dropping aggro, using Breather, and re-engaging is no longer valid. As such, this has basically turned itself in to a use-when-rezzed ability. (And with the higher chance of dying again, having a lower cooldown compared to Hiatus is preferred). Keep in mind, Breather is an old ability and has not scaled nicely to our current endurance levels or cost. It will not bring you up to 29% as it says - it will fade off much sooner. Technique of the Crimson Fist - similar to Hiatus, it has a long cooldown and a damage reduction. I'll use this when I'm in dire need of endurance. Typically upon a second death. Alliance Use it often. Draws a lot of endurance, but if you're properly managing your STC usage you should be fine. Properly rotating your Alliance with other monks is the only way to get maximum DPS. I have mine set to a hotkey to include a message to a monk channel so they know when I've clicked, and I know when they have. Keep in mind that Alliance uses up a debuff slot on the mob and you may not actually get this to land if all the slots are full. Vehement Rage This doesn't like to stack with much, in particular IoT. As such, it's not going to add much DPS to the above-listed burns that all utilize IoT. I use this whenever I can, but I don't expect it to be a game-changer. I use it more with the fillers than with the primary burns. Solo / Molo / Group-Specific For the most part, I treat solo / molo / group-specific game the same way I treat raiding. I still cycle through my discs the same way, still pair discs / abilities the same way, etc. The only thing I might change is if I'm tanking - I might keep Eye of the Storm unclicked in favour of having Shaded Step up as a just-in-case measure. Tanking Monks are good in a pinch at tanking. As mentioned above, we have some aggro-generating abilities that will help tag a loose mob. However, beyond those two things, we only have our DPS to help generate enough hate to keep a mob focused on us. We effectively have no taunting abilities, so if you find yourself in a situation where you're expected to keep aggro, you should apply some aggro poison. Do not rely on FPP and your BP click to keep a mob on you when you're grouping. Moloing, you should be fine in most situations. We have plenty of options for defensive abilities when it comes to tanking, more than just Earthforce & Shaded Step. Earthforce - Our bread & butter for tanking. I highly recommend using it as often as you can when you're tanking, even when not necessarily needed. The recast delay on it is short, the duration is reasonable, it adds marginal DPS, and it makes your healer's life a little bit easier. All good things. Shaded Step - Effectively invulnerability from melee attacks for 18 seconds. Stacks with discs. Mend - Incalculably beneficial. 50% return of hp instantly, usable every 30 seconds. As plentiful as this seems though, properly timing it is crucial to your survival. Counterstrike - A weaker defensive ability I'll use when nothing else is up. Feign Death - If you find yourself in a bind, you can use this to drop aggro for a quick breather. I sometimes (read: constantly) drop my aggro to my merc when moloing so I can let Mend catch up. He can take at least a round or two. When I've caught up, I'll use FPP to snatch back aggro. Imitate Death - Similar to above, you can use this to help catch up when needed. Reject Death - Last ditch effort to stay alive Monk Mez (Echo of Deceit) - Lines up perfectly with Imitate Death if you really need a break. Merc dies, an add comes by, need a short break, whatever - imitate death, stand, mez, and you're (hopefully) in the clear. Add in positioning abilities (Moving Mountains and Magnanimous Force) and you can mez and move an add away as needed. Purify Body - A lot of mobs add nasty dots to you, especially upon the initial pull. Purify Body removes nearly all ailments. Although it does grant immunity for 30 seconds from a new ailment landing on you, not all ailments follow this rule. Epic 2.0 - A tremendous amount of HP added to you. Recast is short, duration is... good enough. Timing this properly with a pull will allow your merc to start casting a heal while you're at "100%" hp, starting them on their healing cycle slightly early. Various clickies - Blood drinker's coating, Manisi branch (Frontier Mountains), Overflowing Urn of Life (TDS), etc. are all marginally useful - they're not going to keep you afloat against a heavy hitting mob, but they might compliment your healer enough to keep you alive. Terror's Juju - Helps give a bit of hp, and breaks some damage shields. Anguish BP (Fiercehand Shroud of the Focused) - Quick-cast quick-refresh dispel clicky, useful for removing damage shields, sarnak riposte buff, buffs in general Skull of Null - Similar to Anguish BP, but drops any beneficial or detrimental buff DI clicks - Complete invulnerability, very long recast. Use as a last resort. An important thing to realize with mob damage is that it comes in waves. Melee, nukes, dots - all of it. You'll never encounter a situation that will drop your HP down at a constant rate. You'll get a situation that will drop your HP 20% initially, another 15% in 3 seconds, another 20% in 5 seconds, etc. On the other side of the same coin, you'll always be healed in the same manner - waves of heals. 10% in 2 seconds, 15% in another 3, etc. This is going to create some opportunities for you to time your abilities. Using Earthforce against a mob that JUST landed a hit on you is ineffective, as it won't be landing another attack on you for a few seconds. Using Earthforce just before it lands an attack on you will give you a bit more time to stay alive. This seems so minor that it shouldn't make a difference, but it's the minor things adding up that will keep you alive. I'll use Mend as a filler to my healer merc. I'll try to get them to heal me as much as possible, but if I find myself dropping to X% shortly after a heal lands, I'll use Mend. Your % may differ, try things out to see what your comfort threshold is. It will depend on the situation for sure - sometimes I'll be comfortable going to 10-15%, other times I'll mend at 50. On to the fun stuff. Examples! 'Mend - Earthforce - Mend' is a combination I use fairly often. It is very rare to encounter a mob that will one-round you. As such, you shouldn't need to use Earthforce prior to engaging. If I know I'll need to use it, I'll typically do a pull, drop to 50% hp, mend up to 100%, drop to 50% hp, then use Earthforce. By the time Earthforce is done, mend is back up and the mob should (ideally) be nearing death. Earthforce is strong enough to keep you alive even when starting at 50% hp (most of the time). I'll also try to not use Earthforce until Mend is down. Mend should be able to keep you alive for at least two rounds of combat. For all-out tanking (current content named), this is how I tank. Some of it may not be necessary, like the additional clicks for heals or even using Earthforce. Consider this worst-case: BP click (increased aggro) Damage clicks (poisons, CoP4) Healing clicks (blood drinker's coating, branch, urn, etc.) Epic 2.0 Merc starts to heal due to new max hp from 2.0, healing cycle starts Pull (distant strike) Named casts initial nukes, dots, etc. Heal from merc lands Cast FPP on named to regain / re-establish aggro Start heavy burn (Heel, typically) Named begins melee damage Mend when merc heals are insufficient Shaded step when heals are insufficient Shaded step drops Cast Purify Body if necessary Use Reject Death Mend as necessary If heals are insufficient, drop Heel and pop Earthforce Collect loot The main goal here, obviously, is to stay alive. A good way to do this is to reduce the amount of time we're tanking. The defensives are lined up in such a way so that you can maximize the amount of burn time you have. If you're fortunate enough to have a group that can dish out a lot of damage, you can probably have the named dead before your Shaded Step drops. As always, please post your own thoughts. Feel free to PM me here or send a message in game to Xegony.Thrillhouse.