Ninja vs Shintao
I'm setting up to LR20 my main, and I'm torn between shintao and ninja. Don't get me wrong, I'll be splashing both, regardless, but which to take to tier 5?
-Shadow Double: The biggie. +100% doublestrike for 6 seconds every 30 seconds. HUGE!
-Touch of Death: Seriously MEH since the nerf, still a big chunk of damage.
-Crippling Strike: Very nice
-Rise of the Phoenix: Skip it.
-Meditation of War: Not going pure, so skip it.
-Kukan-Do: Interesting, especially since I will have some CHA to make up for the lost monk levels.
-Violence Begets Violence: Not sure about this, but it sounds like you should get more critical hits.
-Empty Hand Mastery: Very nice; 8d8 fists are hard to complain about.
Shintao is nice, but I don't see how it can possibly make up the DPS difference. Is there any reason to prefer Shintao, assuming that I already have DR-breaking wraps?
It seems you're just looking for damage, damage, damage.
You'll need to survive long enough to dish that out.
My apologies if I sound flippant. But the game names these class trees for a reason.
With U19, both trees deal very good damage. But I would argue that the new Henshin Mystic deals far more DPS since they specialize in a quarterstaff and gain remarkably powerful damage--far more than I've seen on my Shintao tanker.
That said: U19 has weighted the Shintao as a tanker class tree, favoring Mountain Stance and its PRR and AC bonuses as well as its critical threat improvements. It's DPS is respectable, but its raw defenses to outlast what it has to kill is more impressive. With the right configuration, a Shintao is a powerful and very self-sufficient character with excellent healing amplification.
But the Shintao doesn't rule in miss-chance defenses and burst DPS. That goes to the Ninja Spy. They can easily reach their Dodge cap and increase it, and go 25% incorporeal and invisible at will. Any Blur ability completes that class's ability to side-step any damage while delivering poison (now a nastier d.o.t. effect), stuns and Touch of Death strikes--which not only haven't been nerfed from pre-U19 but now reliably hit (a change in the animation or some other coding). By level 20, a Ninja Spy's blades and throwing stars all get Vorpal effects. You mentioned other good damage points to a Ninja. Their raw defenses aren't the strongest but you can find the right gear combination to compensate a bit. Oh, and being able to neg-level a mob at will helps a Ninja clear a room very fast.
The Mystic's staff training and critical threat beats both Shintao and Ninja Spy DPS, which currently is my strongest sustained DPS machine. My Mystic can take the third-best named quarterstaff in game, the Stout Oak Walking Stick, and pummel the masses often with 200, 300, 500, even a 700 critical when the stars align just right. I can add a 25% doublestrike for 10 seconds every 20 seconds, which stacks with enhancement bonuses from Wind Stance for as high as 50% with Epic Destinies. The Mystic, unlike the typically unarmed Shintao and Ninja, isn't a stun-bot with a staff in hand (Stunning Fist doesn't work unless unarmed), but a mass-damage dealer, not just with a staff but with its own spell-like Fire and Force attacks. The Mystic's general defenses are average and don't compare to the best Shintao and Ninja builds, but a Mystic is moving too fast to stay in one place to get hit. It's meant as a whirling dervish with as many Cleave effects that you can manage to harass and damage mobs.
Boost any of these class tree's STR for more damage.
Use Mountain Stance and add Improved Critical: Bludgeoning for more critical range.
My opinion is based on a Monk that goes to L20, so your mileage will certainly vary.
OK, wow, first of all, Henshin is nowhere near the DPS of either shintao or ninja, at least with a monk past life or two. Unarmed is just more damage faster. I have a staff monk/rogue, and it's just not in the same league; not that it doesn't work, just more caster-monk than melee-monk, imho. Staff monk/cleric is really cool, though.
Of course, I'm also looking at epic gameplay, since the character is 25. I'm building for both overwhelming critical and vorpal strikes, with improved martial arts for the 3rd epic feat, probably.
So, 8d8 fists with extra criticals vs 8d6 fists with burst doublestrike. Only 12 monk, so ki management might enter into the equation, and light has a few more AP to spend in other trees.
I'll tell you what, I'll build it both ways and see what it looks like.
Edit: How has touch of death not been nerfed? It now misses way more often and never double/triple/quad hits. I've taken it off of my main hotbar on all of my characters that have it.
Here's the build, both ways:
First, I have seen double hits with tod and killer. If you ever saw triple or quad hits, I would say that is DEFINITELY not wai. You have two fists, two chances to touch something. Max 2 makes sense.
Originally Posted by elg582
Re: on hotbar, I also don't run it. It has an absurdly high cost and is a fort save, which virtually everything is good against except wizies.250 damage for 50 ki is just a horrid use of ki. I can go earth stance and spam the snot out of earth attack/fists of iron/earth finisher for lots and lots more damage much much faster. Further, with that in a rotation, I can roll out reed in the wind for mo-betta dodge.
Even though it isn't useless, I would definitely not say it is useful.
Note I am not a monk expert but I do ee questing most nights and when the party has a tankish toon in the group (monk, paladin, something that can hold aggro and take little dmg) things tend to be a lot more smooth.
Disclaimer: I used to run a Dark Monk before Shadowfell and before the enhancement pass; not sure how things work now.
Originally Posted by Scrag
3 hits (Main hand + off hand + Doublestrike) were a quite common occurrence; some people reported a 4th hit, but I've no idea what could trigger it.
Well, multiple occurrences + 50% more damage (land a Stunning Fist before ToD) made the damage output noteworthy even against foes with high fortitude saves.
Originally Posted by Scrag
Then we're talking apples and oranges here, as I mentioned.
Originally Posted by elg582
You're min-maxing. I'm talking class damage since your original post implied it.
That's not a problem, but you are going to see different results than from a non-multiclassed character, which by definition, changes the results.
I don't argue "nerfs." I play the game with the conditions that the developers set for it. If I don't like the terms, I play another game or character. I do still see some doublestrike hits with Touch of Death, but yes, not as often as pre-U19. I'm happier that they land at all and far more reliably.
And if you're using number crunching and not bothering in rolling up and using a fully leveled character to tell me I'm wrong about a Mystic's damage, my observations stand. My information includes an Epic weapon and an L24 character with Legendary Dreadnought. Actual play results and mere math are two different things. Sorry I can't help further on what you're looking for.