Monk AA Setup (Post GU62 / AOD Release / 320 AA Cap) ======================================== Right, time for the third one (already done Conjuror and Fury). Once again, I'll start with cut and paste the pro-forma, and then, into the analysis! Rider ------ I am not an expert. I am just another player. I will potentially revise anything I have said below if provided with a good enough rationale for a normal player's playstyle for doing so. I said potentially, this is afterall my own judgement. There is no "perfect spec", just a preferred one. Your mileage may vary. Any and all *constructive* comments welcome. Background: --------------- I have been playing Monk for years now, since 2006 in fact, and she has been my main character the last three years. Having just grinded Lorianna from 300AA to 320AA over the last couple of weeks, reaching the new AA cap for the post GU62 / AoD release, it was time to sit down and go through the AA setup again, as I have not done this in a while. My first step was to head to these forums looking for any fresh advice. Now this forum here looks pretty dead, and the info here is ancient, but with this character I know what I am doing, so I set about defining my own new spec, based on my perception of my own needs. So, I decided to share it. Take note that this setup is intended for the following types of monk players: - Those who have 320AA. Well, it is a full spec after all. - Those who prefer a one-size-fits-all setup, who don't want to be using AA mirrors all the time. - Those who are not wanting to spend any points on the tradeskill tab. - Those who are soloers, groupers or pickup or casual raiders. - Those who are not crazy min-maxers - Those who have NOT capped out on all their gear (or probably on any of their gear!). In summary, it is spending 320 AA for a player who is playing a monk but for fun and not for a job. If you are one of the 1% of players wanting a hardmode raiding setup for some extreme hardcore guild, this ain't the thread for you, go ask someone else, cos that sure ain't me, never was, never will be. I'll add one more thing here. This is a hybrid spec meant to be used for all purposes, but it is biased to be primarily a spec for TANKING, and this means both tanking for heroic groups (including groups without the correct class makeup), and tanking for pickup and casual raids, aiming at more of a MAIN TANK spec, and not so much a combat support role. I make no apologies for taking skills that aid tanking ability at the expense of some utility and/or DPS - in some cases of course. Another monk player may make other choices, they are all perfectly valid. The AA Setup ----------------- Follow the link: http://beetny.com/eq2aa/?GU62;c02s1...e@18a@2aa@1a@21 Brawler Tab ------------------- There are two lines that are very easy to select here, those being the left-hand line (formerly known as the STR line) line and the second-from-right line (formerly known as the WIS line). On the WIS line, ten ranks each in Crane Twirl and Crane Growth are superb choices, and Crane Flock at the bottom is a fantstic skill to have. Really this is all "no brainer" territory! On the STR line, ten ranks in Relentless Punches and ten ranks in Claw Reversal are both excellent choices, and Chi at the bottom is a great ability to have! Next, I really like to improve re-use, and I want ten ranks in Ambidexterity, so for me, I chose the second-from-left line (formerly known as the AGI line), putting in 4,10 here. At this point, then, with 67 AA spent, and wanting to save 20 AA for the bottom section, there are 13 AA left to spend on the main part of the tab. This is where it all becomes a little more debatable, and I have seen arguments for *all* the other three lines being chosen at various times in the past. A more DPS-oriented choice would now be to go for Mantis Bolt or Eagle's Fury. Personally, however, being defence/tanking oriented, I have for the time being decided to use the fact that the AGI line is already open, and I have taken 10 ranks in Monkey Dodge and picked up Altruism. The bottom section is then very easy. Eight ranks in Tiger Reflexes is a superb choice, as is eight ranks in Swift Wings. Both of these aid AE aggro control when tanking, and are instant choices for me. Then there is the two ranks of Brawler's Tenacity, probably the best skill we have bar none! Monk Tab ------------- I'll start here with the easy ones to choose: Crescent Strike 5 Mend 5 Will of the Heavens 3 Mountain Stance 5 Tranquil Vision 5 Outward Calm 5 Tsunami 5 Dragonfire 5 Taunts 5 These nine skills are all tanking utility, and I use them non-stop when tanking for groups or in raids. With the exception of the last one (Taunts), I would strongly recommend each and every one of these choices to every monk tank. That last one is harder to be so convinced about, as taunts are pretty weak in game, but for the time being I still consider an improvement is still and improvement and take this as well. After these, it is time to start boosting some of the damage options. Some monks may choose slightly different combinations, and I may not have (finally) completed changing these slightly, but for the time being they are: Roundhouse Kick 5 Waking Dragon 5 Rising Phoenix 5 Five Rings 5 Rising Dragon 5 Silent Palm 5 Arctic Talon 3 This means the things I do not choose are: Mongoose Stance (general threat REDUCTION? huh? No thanks) Sprint (garbage) Body Like Mountain (I *really* hate the root, movement/positioning matters, so I rarely use it, so I won't waste AA to improve something I hardly use) Frozen Palm Striking Cobra (these last two, have nothing against them, I just cant take all the DPS choices). I then go for: Evasion Combination Reprimand That is 79 AA spent. The "Evasion" skill is heavily underrated by many monk tanks. I see it as an absolutely fantastic ability for helping control our aggro when we are in a raid as the OT and fighting for aggro with the MT, but wanting to try to sit just below the MT. I use this *all the time* in such settings, and swear by it. A longer range taunt (Reprimand) is useful, and Combination is more DPS. This means I do not choosing Superior Guard. I know some monks like it, but always found it annoying to use, forever waiting for it to fire or finding I absolutely had to use some other combat art whilst it was up and so cancelling it, and this was happening so often that I decided rank it fourth of the four, and so do not take it now. If I was able to spend five more AA in this section, by putting 4 into the unselected damage skills and 1 into Superior Guard, I could have all four. However, that would leave only 16 for the bottom section, and I want to spend 17, so it won't fit. So, Superior Guard is dumped. For me, for now. At the bottom I choose: Numbing Blows 5 (easy choice!) Dragon's Rage 5 (no brainer!) Outward Tranquility 5 (again, no brainer, love the spell ward!) Provoking Stance (2AA for this one rank, very useful) The last four points I currently put into: Snow Blindness 3 Combination 1 Those could change, however. And that is the 100 done. Shadows Tab ----------------- This tab is not too difficult to choose from. There are some stand out skills and a lot of poor ones, and only a few somewhere in the middle. General: Hearty Constitution 5 Pet of the Gods 5 Enhanced Mind 5 Fighter: Consummate Defender 5 Battle Hardening 5 Sneering Assault Brawler: Tactical Precision 5 Blazing Cobra 5 Deflecting Blow 5 Aversion 5 Inner Focus Monk: Peel 5 Mitigating Blows 5 Focused Followup 1 Mend 5 Meditative Mending 3 Bob and Weave Hidden Openings That's 70 points spent. Some notes: - On the Monk line, Peel and Mitigating Blows are total no-brainers, wonderful skills. - Taking one rank in Focused Followup gives a good return, further ranks are actually not worth it. - Mend needs to be up as much as possible. When last I respecced this tab, I was still getting some benefit from the 5th rank, but of course there is no need to take more ranks if you get enough re-use from other places to cap the improvement. - Meditative Mending I am not convinced by, but it was where I used the last 3 points! - Most of the other choices were fairly obvious. They are the ones that offer defensive assistence, more health or improved utility. - There are some others that I did not take that still may be of use (Tranquil Forewarning for Taunts and a rank or two in Rescue, to mention the obvious ones), but the points run out eventually of course. Heroic Tab -------------- Spirit and Body 10 Ability Aptitude 8 Lightning Reflexes 10 Brawler's Tenacity 10 Hostility 10 Tag Team (2AA for the 1 rank) That's 50 points spent. Why these? The choice of Spirit and Body is easy, as that means Health, which is vital for any tank. Ability Aptitude is very important for a normal player at level 90, sitting in PQ gear or Thurgadin Gear, or Ry'Gorr, even with some x2 raid gear and the occasional x4 so-called "easymode" piece of gear. It hurgely hurts DPS (and hence aggro) to have very low ability modifier. However, if a player actually manages to pick up any of the sets of two jewelry pieces from the x4 raidzones, then each set gives +500 ability modifier. If you can pick up some of these sets, there is no longer the need for this AA choice. Infact, Lorianna has now just acquired her second +500 set, and so has now moved these points into Unrivaled Focus instead. However, most players will not have these, and I would strongly recommend having some points in Ability Aptitude in that case. Lightning Reflexes is the best choice on the second line, in my view. Getting those CAs and utility abilities to recycle faster is really important. Brawler's Tenacity is basically a "must have". It is a super ability, and having three triggers on the life save is fantastic! Now, I go for Hostility, because Hate Generation is the single biggest weakness of the Monk class when tanking for groups and raids, especially where one has non-ideal group makeups (this is very often the case for casual and normal players!). I find it very good at helping with aggro holding. Finally, and most controversially of all (to some), I stand by and recommend the choice of Tag Team as the bottom line skill for serious normal player monk tanks. This is to use on oneself, not for use on others. Most raiding monks will say "No, get Combat Mastery!", and for those in organized large guild forces where the monk is in a partial utility and offtank role, I can see why. However, I am not a raidguild monk, and I see myself as a main tank, not a group utility buffer. Whilst CM would indeed also assist with personal DPS (and hence hate generation), I find Tag Team is one of my most used abilities, that extra save for the "oh crap" moments, with both a total damage prevention for a short time and a large self-heal rolled into one. I have saved more desperate situations when main tanking for a group or casual raid with this selection than I care to count, and I am very happy with it, and happy to recommend it to other normal player monks. However, another monk's choice should be dictated by their style of play and what they find they end up doing, of course. Well, there you go, all done. *Constructive* comments welcome (particularly from casual and normal players, who this post is aimed at and designed for).