The best skill build for leveling monk in D3
Well, the monk is doing just awesome and is performing quite well in Nightmare difficulty. He is mid-thirties and I am slowly adapting to the difficulty. The main difference is in the elite packs you bump in to. They are now quite deadly and have two subtypes instead of one, so you need to micro a lot more to avoid getting wasted. This involves running away a lot if you pull too many packs at once. Then you need to slowly pick off the entire pack, working from the edges and either focus on the ranged heavy hitters or the mobs you can easily dispatch in a hit or two. Hit and run works really well
I have pretty run much the same skill build for Monk, through all 30+ levels while leveling.
Survival build for leveling monk 1-35-ish
You get the key skills within the first 10 levels, so I find it very good for easy and fast leveling.
Primary skill: Crippling Wave: This is your main attack skill. It does decent damage, debuffs enemies for lower damage and slows them down as well. It has a rather large PBAoE, so it is very good for large groups of mobs, but still works really well for boss fights with adds.
Secondary Skill: Tempest Rush: This is your secondary and you don’t really use it offensively. I use it to catch runners, since it does a small stun on impact, while the animation resets and most importantly, I use it for micro. When you run with it, you stun mobs and you mow them out of the way, so there is no collision detection. So when you are surrounded, you can use it to run to the edge of packs and reset the fight. Pretty awesome stuff and I always make sure to have some Spirit in the tank to get me out of tight spots with this skill.
Defensive: Breath of Heaven: This is your main heal and your “Oh shit”-button. You can rune it for a bit of AoE holy damage, which works surprisingly well against large packs of low-HP mobs. Alternatively you can rune it to heal even more, which comes in handy on difficult boss fights.
Techniques: Exploding Palm: I use this and Crippling Wave together and they have a very good synergy and both fit in to the AoE debuffer theme. The bleed effect also does pretty good DPS, but the most important aspect of the skill is the explosion if mobs are killed while bled. The explosion deals 30% of targets life in AoE damage, so putting this on the biggest mob of the pack and having that explode, takes a huge chunk out of the remaining mobs health.
Focus: Cyclone strike or Mystic Ally: Cyclone strike is really good at keeping mobs close, which is especially nice with ranged mobs that run away. Mystic Ally won’t do a lot of damage, but it will tie up a few mobs and later on it will help your spirit regen. Early on I ran with Cyclone Strike, but later on I switched over to Mystic Ally.
Mantras: Mantra of evasion and later on Mantra of Healing: Mantra of Healing gives a really nice, steady heal over time and it is really noticeable. It foits perfectly in with our leveling philosophy and style. Don’t forget, that you get a 3 second additional buff when you cast it, so cast it in combat as a heal. Mantra of evasion is the first mantra you get, and I run this until you get Mantra of Healing.
Passives: Resolve, Transcendence, Seize the Initiave: Resolve and Seize the initiative are damage reducers and lets you tank better. Seize the initiative really makes a huge difference as you start to gem and I would always go for armor over dodge, if they gave the same damage reduction. With armor you get a smooth damage, while you get the damage in spikes as a dodge tank. Transcendence constantly keeps you topped up with life and lets you keep your Breath of Heaven for emergencies or your allies.
The best follower build for leveling and farming fast
While DPS will get you the kill fast, you will also get killed exceptionally fast. Instead I would focus in survivability, since you will need that mindset later on Inferno difficulty. Steady DPS, backed up by extreme survivability will get you farming faster and longer, netting you more gold and items in the long run. This should be reflected in your follower’s build. I have chosen to run with the templar and spec him for survival and support. This means picking Heal, Loyalty, Charge and Inspire. This keeps you at a decent Health regen and you usually go in to fights with full Spirit.
Both The Templar and your spirit ally actually survive pretty well on their own, so I usually let them mind their own business and tie up a few mobs and then finally clean up.
I used the above leveling spec to go from 1-35 and I plan on keeping it for a long time. With the higher difficulties, you need to focus on staying alive and this is the best build for doing that….and consequently the best build for leveling, farming, and making money.
At around level 40, I plan on switching over to a 2H tanking build focusing on spirit regen. I just need a decent 2H weapon for this.
Next up I will start to focus on gearing up your monk and making some money on the AH. It’s still crazy right now, but I am starting to see some patterns. Good gaming!