Leveling Up Your Diablo 3 Monk

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My Diablo Midlife Crisis

I love playing Diablo 3. The idea of continuously being able to progress and better yourself appeals to me. However, some time ago I lost interest in the game. I had been stuck playing Torment 4 for months, and didn’t know what the next step to improving was. Legendary drop rates in my difficulty level were not good enough to acquire my next game-changing piece of gear. With no Boon of the Hoarder, I had no gold to refine my gems. I could scrape through a Greater Rift 20 at best. I was stuck with one build, and I could feel my gameplay stagnating.

Recently, I revisited Diablo 3 and made a giant spurt of progress! One tiny breakthrough led to another, and now I’m about to finish a Greater Rift 50! I cruise through Torment X. I have three or four builds that I rotate between regularly. I have more money than I know what to do with.

Here are a few of the things that I followed in order to make my progress.

  • Create a Seasonal Hero
  • Spend fast
  • Survivability first

Create a Seasonal Hero

Seasons are a great way to get a head-start on some awesome gear.

In exchange for completing some special objectives through the campaign, you are awarded up to 6 pieces of a class set. For example, I completed Season 5’s objectives to receive the 6-piece Monkey King’s Garb set. What’s more, you receive this gear two pieces at a time, and can immediately start using the first two pieces you receive to make it easier to obtain the rest.

Spend fast

The better gear you have, the higher difficulty you can play at. The higher the difficulty that you’re playing at, the more likely you are to get better gear.

This means that investments to improve the quality of your gear pay exponential dividends. Are you saving up a bunch of Imperial Emeralds until you have enough (and enough money) to combine them into a Flawless Royal Emerald? Don’t! Socket them in your gear right away! The improvement to your stats will allow you to immediately reap dividends from the gems that you have collected, enabling you to play at a higher difficulty. Chances are, you’ll earn back the used gems very soon. To sum up,

Don’t hold on to things “until the time is right”. The right time is right away.

Survivability first

The biggest challenge for me when attempting to play at the higher Torment levels was staying alive, or maximizing the amount of damage that you can take.

The amount of damage you can take depends on your Toughness (roughly speaking, how much health do you have) and your Recovery (how fast do you regain health). Having loads of Toughness and no Recovery is quite useless. You will steadily lose health at the hands of every mob that attacks you, until you eventually die. On the other hand, if you prioritize Recovery over Toughness, you will be able to “live forever”. You will be able to recover your health faster than mobs can deal damage to you, rendering you invincible. The one caveat here is that you must possess enough Toughness to avoid being one-shot by scarier monsters.

How did I implement this strategy? Life On Hit is a statistic that grants you a certain amount of health every time you hit a mob. It scales with attack speed. Well, monks happen to have some of the fastest attack speeds out there. Hence, I decided to tune my gear towards maximizing my Attack Speed and my Life On Hit. After socketing every diamond I owned in my gear to increase my resistances, I became the Diablo equivalent of Wolverine. I could stand in one spot and relentlessly beat on mobs, while my super-healing powers kept me alive forever.

I could now play at higher difficulties. My damage output was terrible, but it didn’t matter. I didn’t mind taking a while to kill things, because the greater rewards for clearing a Nephalem Rift in a higher Torment level justified the extra time it took to do so.

A month or two after following this approach, I now have my very own Inna’s set, Uliana’s set, and a bunch of splendid legendaries. I can mix and match to try out new interesting builds. I can turn myself into a glass cannon to “farm”, or I can put on my best suit to clear a Greater Rift 50. All in all, Diablo is fun again.

If you relate to this Diablo “mid-life crisis” that I went through, I hope this approach will help you get over the hump.

You can view an example build that I used to get from Torment IV to Torment VII here.