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  1. #1
    Community Member Munkenmo's Avatar
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    Default Monks, A Guide for Beginners

    Updated for U24:

    Preface:

    I've spent a lot of time on these boards trying to post advice and help players with builds. Monks are the class I'm most familiar with and tend to find myself answering questions for the most often. I'm writing this guide primarily to allow myself and others a solid point of reference. It will not be perfect, and it will not cover everything, but hopefully it will help.
    This guide is going to be focused primarily on 16+ monk levels, splashing much more than 4 levels does start making a build play rather differently, and offers new strengths and weaknesses. There are a lot of threads to go elsewhere for builds with 16 monk levels or less, but initially I won't be covering them here.

    Monk Builds For Beginners:
    Whilst there are many options available to a new player, I believe that when starting new as a new player with low resources, there are only 3 options new players should be considering:

    • Unarmed. This is the classic monk experience, fighting with your bare fists punching enemies in the face. Unarmed has the advantage of being compatible with the Two Weapon Fighting Feats & Stunning Fist, then to top it off unarmed has an attack speed ~10% faster than someone fighting with 2 weapons.
    • Quarterstaff. Historically quarterstaves used to be amongst the weakest options for a monk, however since the enhancement changes in 2013 this style has received some considerable improvements making it much more effective than it used to be.
    • Armed, Ninja Spy: Equipping weapons will lock you out from use of the feat stunning fist, and you do attack 10% slower than an unarmed monk. The advantage you gain is the ability to use dexterity for to hit and damage. If you choose to go down this route you also gain good reflex saves essentially giving up some offense to gain some defense.


    Racial Choice:
    In the below builds I've selected human for all 3 build types. There are a lot of different factors to take into account, but I'll try to quickly summarize them:

    • 1. Human is a free to play race, that comes with 2 free & notable bonuses, a bonus feat at level 1 and +1 skill points per level (except at level 1 where it's actually 4skill points). These make humans quite unique, because most of the other races get the majority of their bonuses from spending points on racial enhancements. Ever since the enhancement pass, points are counted on a per-tree basis, which has effectively increased the opportunity cost of spending enhancement points in racial trees.
    • 2. On top of the free bonuses, a very small investment in the Human racial enhancement tree will net a player 20% Damage boost & 10% healing amp, these are two particularly powerful abilities that scale as you level up.
    • 3. Humans get access to the feat Dragonmark of Passage, this will allow you to cast Expeditious retreat (a spell that increases your movement speed by ~20%)
    • 4. Dragonmark of Passage also allows you to cast Dimension Door, as a new player it's a good spell to "get out of jail free" in the event you're being overwhelmed you can use dimension door to return to the start of a quest and regroup. There are also a lot of quests where returning to the start is necessary in order to progress the quest, alot of veteran players like having this spell to reduce quest completion times. (Eventually you'll get a feel for those)


    Humans are not the only viable choice, but I do think that Humans are the best racial choice for any new melee monk at this time.


    Stat Distribution:
    It's said often on these forums that monks are dependent on multiple stats. This used to somewhat true, prior to 2013 when stances were dependent on meeting stat pre reqs. Now days (especially since Overwhelming critical had it's stat pre req removed) it's not the problem it's often made out to be.


    There are 2 key stat scores that Unarmed monks want to reach:

    • 17 dexterity: is required to qualify for the feats: Improved & Greater Two Weapon Fighting
    • 23 wisdom: is required to qualify for the epic feat Vorpal Strikes.


    If you're about to make a brand new 28 or 32 point monk with no tomes, you will not be able to reasonably reach more than 1 of the above scores. Don't worry about it though, that's totally ok, you're new, it's impossible compete with a well resourced player who's got a 36point build and multiple tomes.

    What you have to do is prioritize & work with what you've got, I'll go into further details in each build post.

    Before you buy tomes:
    As you scroll down, You'll notice the builds below haven't quite managed to reach the 23 wisdom needed to qualify for the epic feat Vorpal Strikes.
    Think twice before buying a tome, make sure it will allow you to reach the stat requirement for Vorpal Strikes. If the tome doesn't allow you to reach that threshold, it's probably not worth investing in.
    I'll include some builds for tomes later, but for now here's a quick guide:
    28pt unarmed, For a measurable difference any one of a +3 dex or a +2 wis tome are required. A lesser tome than that is not worth spending astral shards or TP on.
    28 point weapon build, a dex tome would be your biggest benefit, but if it's a +3 tome or below, use this guideline, if you feel it's expensive, then it's not worth it.
    Consider with 28 point builds, that your TP could be better spent LR'ing into a 32point build.

    For Any 32pt build, a +2 or +3 dex tome will grant enough flexibility to pick up Vorpal Strikes, they're fairly cheap and will be all you need to start out. Investing in further tomes is expensive, a +2wis tome from favor rewards is the sweet spot to start out with whilst your learning, and it's probably not worth buying any until you really know the ropes.

    If you're going buy a tome, the stats as I have laid them out will change:
    If you need help working out optimal stats with tomes, ask in this thread, I'll do my best to help. Using a tome without optimizing your starting stats for tomes could mean that tome makes virtually no difference to your build.

    It's worth mentioning that as you complete quests, you will also be granted favor points. I won't go into the specifics of favor, but once you accumulate 1750 favor points you can talk to an NPC in the harbor to receive a +2 tome (I recommend Wisdom for unarmed, Strength for Quarter Staffs, Dex for 2 Weapon Users).
    Last edited by fTdOmen; 11-21-2014 at 08:59 PM.

  2. #2
    Community Member Munkenmo's Avatar
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    Default Beginner - Human Unarmed 20 Monk - No Tomes

    Unarmed Monk Stat Prioritization:


    • 1. Dexterity, the most important stat requirement on virtually any new monk is 17 dexterity. The reason for this is because the feats Improved & Greater Two Weapon Fighting are essential.

    Whether you fight with hand wraps or with two weapons, no other feat will increase your overall damage as each feat from the two weapon fighting chain, each feat will grant you an extra 20% off hand attacks, (this equates to approximately 12% more damage per feat). So as you can see, these should be considered absolutely essential, and your first priority.

    • 2. Constitution, is related to hit points. Whilst not quite being a stat, your next most important attribute will be HP. Without hp, you're dead, dead party members do not contribute.

    I'll come across as a hypocrite here, you may see me often advocating to other players that they should dump their constitution score. I say that to players who have more resources than you. Ignore what I say elsewhere and consider this: Dumping con is ok, dumping HP is not. You're new, you don't have pastlives and gear to bolster your hp, so your hp will be quite closely related to your constitution score for a while

    • 3. Strength, You need Strength for your to hit and damage, without it you couldn't punch your way out of a paper bag, heck you may even miss that paper bag.

    Points in strength also increase your carrying capacity, reducing the chance of being encumbered, there is nothing more annoying for a monk than to become uncentred due to carrying too much stuff.

    • 4. Wisdom, Two of your best abilities are calculated based on your wisdom score, Stunning Fist, and Quivering Palm. Investing in wisdom is essential, if you don't, these abilities will be useless.

    Wisdom also Boosts your AC and contributes towards your heal skill, wholeness of body regeneration and will saves. As you play the game and get more resources this stat will eventually become your second most important stat.

    • 5. Intelligence and Charisma, Nobody can max everything, somewhere we have to make some cuts in order to fit our important points in. These two stats offer little advantages to you, likewise there are only minor disadvantages completely ignoring them.




    Spending your Stat Points (the below stats are a breakdown for humans)
    As someone who's just invested in the monk class, and possibly 32points, you probably want to consider builds without tomes, instead saving your TP for content.

    As I mentioned before, in order to viably fight unarmed you will want at least 17 dexterity. If you were to invest in 17 dexterity at character creation reaching 17 dex would use up 13 of your build points.

    Instead of using almost half your points at character creation I would instead suggest:

    • To invest in only 16 dexterity, using up only 10 build points (10/28)
    • To invest in 15 wisdom (using up 8 Build points) This wisdom investment will eventually allow you to reach the 23wisdom required for an epic feat, without having to spend money on tomes. (18/28)
    • Next you'll want a decent HP score you will need a decent con, without over investing. Investing 5 points in con with a starting score of 13 con. (If you invest in con at a 1:1 ratio you could go up to 14, but I feel that str is equally as important) (13/28)
    • Strength is lucky last, it's your stat for to hit and damage, It's actually more important than the stat alocation shows, but you only need 13base strength for feat pre-requisites. The rest of our boosts will come from gear and buffs. (28/28)


    This would leave you with fairly acceptable looking starting stats of 13str, 16dex, 13con, 8int, 15wis, 8cha. (32 point builds get: 14str, 14con)

    This Distribution leaves you 1 point shy of 17, fortunately as you level up, every 4th level you get to choose one stat to improve by 1 point. Level ups and tomes count towards feat pre-requisites, so at level 8 invest your level up point in dexterity.



    Basic Beginners Build:



    I often get asked why I've picked up the Two Weapon fighting feats, 10k Stars and Magical Training on an unarmed monk build: The explanation is fairly simple

    When fighting unarmed the two weapon fighting feats are applied. Fighting unarmed still means making attacks with your off hand (you do punch with both hands), each two weapon fighting feats boosts your chance to land off hand attacks by 20%

    By level 18, you've taken all the important unarmed feats, there are still some options, but as time goes on in this game ranged combat has become more and more required, 10k stars won't make you an awesome thrower, but if you find yourself in a situation where you've gotta toss a shuriken it'll make a big difference.

    I chose magical training at 24, as it grants the player Spell points, and the ability echoes of power which effectively grants the user unlimited uses of Rejuvination Cocoon. You don't know it yet, but Rejuvenation Cocoon will be your primary form of healing from the moment you get it. As a new player with limited tome selections you won't be able to qualify for Vorpal fists when you first reach level 24, so this is quite a good filler option instead.

    Once you reach 28, If you have picked up a +2 wisdom tome from favor rewards, you will have reached 23 wisdom allowing you to qualify for Vorpal fists. Once achieved, you can talk to fred and swap out Magical Training for Vorpal fists.


    Enhancements @ level 6:


    Enhancements @ level 12:


    Enhancements @ level 20:
    Last edited by fTdOmen; 10-15-2014 at 03:25 PM.

  3. #3
    Community Member Munkenmo's Avatar
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    Default 28 point Quarterstaff, 18 Monk / 2 Rogue - No Tomes

    It's not pure?!
    Welcome to the world of splashing!
    The reason I've advocated a 2rogue split for acrobats is simple. Tier 1 in the rogue acrobat tree grants you a stacking +15% attack speed bonus with quarterstaves equipped. I firmly believe that there are absolutely no other abilities in any class or enhancement tree that compete with this permanent offensive bonus. A lot of people will say that going pure is good, pures get capstones, pures get a better feel for how the class plays etc. You're new, 20 is a long way away, whilst a pure build is getting a feel for their class, you're playing a build that is very similar, but you'll be doing 15% more damage than the pure monk next to you. When you get to a locked door or a trap you may also be able to open the door or disable that trap.

    Quarterstaff Monk Stat Prioritization:


    • 1. Strength, unlike your unarmed brethren STR is still your most important score. You will be making use of the Two Handed fighting Feats which require 17str, as opposed to 17dex.

    Weapon using weapons monks give up the ability to use the feat Stunning Fist, so both dex and wisdom are slightly less important to you than they would be an Unarmed monk. This means you can boost your str slightly higher than an unarmed build could have managed.

    • 2. Constitution, is related to hit points. Whilst not quite being a stat, your next most important attribute will be HP. Without hp, you're dead, dead party members do not contribute.

    I'll come across as a hypocrite here, you may see me often advocating to other players that they should dump their constitution score. I say that to players who have more resources than you. Ignore what I say elsewhere and consider this: Dumping con is ok, dumping HP is not. You're new, you don't have pastlives and gear to bolster your hp, so your hp will be quite closely related to your constitution score for a while

    • 3. Dexterity, You don't need dex for damage related feats, but the feat dodge is still very useful, it requires 13 dex, and is well worth the investment.

    Points in dex also increase your reflex saves and your ac, whether you use it for damage or not, it's still a moderately useful stat that shouldn't be ignored.

    • 4. Intelligence, Due to the fact I'm telling you to splash 2 rogue on your quarterstaff build, int will be a little more useful for you than a pure monk, as you will have the option to pick up rogue skills.



    • 5. Wisdom, Due to your use of weapons, you will be unable to use the feat stunning fist, you will still have access to Quivering Palm, but that's a level 15 feat. So compared to an unarmed monk you have a much lower need for wisdom.

    Wisdom also Boosts your AC and contributes towards your heal skill, wholeness of body regeneration and will saves.


    • 6. Charisma, Nobody can max everything, somewhere we have to make some cuts in order to fit our important points in. This stat offers little advantage to you, likewise there are only minor disadvantages completely ignoring it.


    Spending Your Stat Points:


    • Dex is essentially a Pre-requisite stat, so invest in 13starting dex to meet the requirements for Dodge (5/28 build points)
    • Con is just as important for you as it is for any other monk, so again invest in con on a 1:1 ratio. That ends up being 6 build points, leaving you with a starting 14con (11/28 points)
    • You're going to have rogue levels, which means you have access to rogue skills. Trapping will be tough to squeeze in, but quite possible, It would make sense to invest 4 points in int. Giving you a starting int of 12. (15/28points)
    • Strength, It's your primary stat, you'll use it for to hit, damage, and it's essential to get alteast 17 for greater two handed fighting.
    • You may want to spend a little on wisdom, it still gives you ac & will saves, and boosts your heal skill afterall, doing so will end up costing you rogue skills in the long run, we're starting with 8base wisdom.


    After following the above stats you'll likely find you have one left over build point. You could put this in int to help boost your search and disable scores, you could put it in charisma to help boost your UMD and other cha based skills. I personally chose to put the stat point into Dexterity to help boost my reflex saves, that's why the build below has a starting Dex of 14.



    28 Point Build Human
    :




    Enhancements @ level 7:


    Enhancements @ level 13:


    Enhancements @ level 20:
    Last edited by fTdOmen; 10-16-2014 at 05:53 PM.

  4. #4
    Community Member Munkenmo's Avatar
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    Default Armed 2wf 20 Monk - No Tomes

    2WF Armed Monk Stat Prioritization:


    • 1. Dexterity, like your unarmed brethren Dex is still your most important score. Unlike unarmed you can use dexterity for your damage, this means that you have a bit of extra incentive to increase dexterity.

    Weapon using monks give up the ability to use the feat Stunning Fist, so both strength and wisdom are slightly less important to you than they would be an Unarmed monk.

    • 2. Constitution, whilst not quite being a stat, the next most important attribute will be HP. Without hp, you're dead, dead party members do not contribute.

    I'll come across as a hypocrite here, you may see me often advocating to other players that they should dump their constitution score. I say that to players who have more resources than you.. Ignore what I say elsewhere and consider this: Dumping con is ok, dumping HP is not. You're new, you don't have pastlives and gear to bolster your hp, your hp will be quite closely related to your constitution score for a while

    • 3. Strength, You don't need strength for damage, but the feat power attack is still very useful, it requires 13 strength, and is well worth the investment.

    Points in strength also increase your carrying capacity, reducing the chance of being encumbered, there is nothing more annoying for any monk than to become uncentred due to carrying too much stuff. Power attack also requires 13str, it's hard to turn down a feat that offers +5 damage per attack.

    • 4. Wisdom, Due to your use of weapons, you will be unable to use the feat stunning fist, you will still have access to Quivering Palm, but that's a level 15 feat. So compared to an unarmed monk you have a much lower need for wisdom.

    Wisdom also Boosts your AC and contributes towards your heal skill, wholeness of body regeneration and will saves.

    • 5. Intelligence and Charisma, Nobody can max everything, somewhere we have to make some cuts in order to fit our important points in. These two stats offer little advantages to you, likewise there are only minor disadvantages completely ignoring them.





    • Buying Your Beginning Stats:

    Unlike unarmed & quarterstaff monks, you can justify investing heavily in Dex as you can use it for to hit and damage. Your str and wisdom scores are of less importance, so you have less of a need to balance your points overall.
    Assuming 28pt build:
    Strength is essentially a Pre-requisite stat, so invest in 13starting str to meet the requirements for power attack (5/28 build points)
    Con is just as important for you as it is for any other monk, so again invest in con on a 1:1 ratio. That ends up being 6 build points, leaving you with a starting 14con (11/28 points)
    Even though wisdom is of low importance to you, I'm loathe to completely dump it, you still get some benefits from wisdom, so I'd advise investing 4 points in wisdom, for a starting total of 12 (15/28 points)
    Spend the rest of your points on Dexterity, for a starting total of 17 dex.

    This leaves a 28point build with starting stats of 13str, 17dex, 14con, 8int, 12wis, 8cha.

    Armed Ninja spy, Human



    As you can see, this is a dexterity based build, but I've not spent a feat on weapon finesse. This is because Ninja Spy's first 2 core abilities will auto grant dexterity to damage and to hit with piercing / slashing weapons.
    • Basic Ninja Training: You are proficient with short swords and treat them as Ki weapons. While you are centered, you can use your Dexterity modifier to hit with piercing and slashing weapons.
    • Advanced Ninja Training: You can use your Dexterity modifier for damage with piercing and slashing melee weapons and shuriken. You also gain a chance based on your Dexterity score to throw an extra shuriken per attack.


    In the enhancements below I show I've picked both of these up by level 6, but I would advise getting these two abilities the moment you're able to. ie, level 1 & level 3.


    Enhancements @ 6:


    Enhancements @ 12:


    Enhancements @ 20:

    Last edited by fTdOmen; 01-26-2015 at 09:00 PM.

  5. #5
    Community Member Munkenmo's Avatar
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    Community Member Munkenmo's Avatar
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    Community Member Munkenmo's Avatar
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    Community Member Munkenmo's Avatar
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    Updated for post enhancement pass.

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    Community Member Cardtrick's Avatar
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    Hey, this is great! I didn't know this thread existed before -- I'll keep it in mind to point new folks to.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard_Zero View Post
    One day I just wrote "Why Do I Die So Much?" in party chat, and that is how I learned about fortification.

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    Being new to the game, this is an excellent help. It lays out everything needed to know, and how to do it. It's a great guide to starting a monk.

    I am using it to build a staff monk. It's been of enormous use to me.

  11. #11
    Community Member inspiredunease's Avatar
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    Couple of quick notes (I'm aware it's unfinished and that you may be planning what I've put below already, but I thought a quick proof-read couldn't hurt.

    • I think some of the stats in the staff build don't match up between the text and the spreadsheet.
    • You never explain why you're taking DDoor
    • It's pre-requisites, not per-requisite
    • You need to explain your race choice, it might be obvious to you that the hamp, feat and boost are amazing, but a new player...
    • You might want to mention in the tomes section the fact that simply by levelling a player is very likely to pick up a +2 favor tome and what that opens up in terms of options with dex


    Think that's all, great guide, keep it up!

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    Default Thanks for this

    Thanks for this guide - I keep referring back to it again and again.
    +1

    Mac

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    Is there anyways to use a halfling for one of these builds? I have a halfling monk sitting on the shelf for the last two years that's unplayable at the moment. But is I could use one of these builds (preferably unarmed or two weapon fighting) I'd respec her to play again.

  14. #14
    Community Member Munkenmo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lvillanueva9 View Post
    Is there anyways to use a halfling for one of these builds? I have a halfling monk sitting on the shelf for the last two years that's unplayable at the moment. But is I could use one of these builds (preferably unarmed or two weapon fighting) I'd respec her to play again.
    Could you let me know:
    • your tomes
    • your stats
    • your feats
    • base build points


    Your halfling might be easily salvaged with a slight enhancement overhaul. If you do just want to LR it though, it'd still be handy knowing whether you have a 28 or 32 pt build and tomes used thus far.

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    On the two weapon fighting build, I see that you didn't take weapon finese. How exactly is does that build use Dex to hit/damage without that feat?

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    Quote Originally Posted by fTdOmen View Post
    Could you let me know:
    • your tomes
    • your stats
    • your feats
    • base build points


    Your halfling might be easily salvaged with a slight enhancement overhaul. If you do just want to LR it though, it'd still be handy knowing whether you have a 28 or 32 pt build and tomes used thus far.
    32 point build with +3 stat tome on all.

    Stats at 16:

    Str 14 +3 tome
    Dex 22 +3 tome (all my level ups are in here)
    Con 15 +3 tome
    Int 8 +3 tome
    Wis 12 +3 tome
    Cha 8 +3 tome

    I already did a reincarnate and followed your 2 weapon fighter build. The only difference is that I chose 7 points in halfling since I'm not human. But nowhere do I see a weapon finesse feat, so how does this build allow you to use dex instead of str?

    I'm asking because i don't know lol. So please don't think I'm questioning your build. Like I said, it's been a while. Also, I do another heart of wood to respec in a couple of days if I totally screwed this one up.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by lvillanueva9; 08-30-2014 at 10:25 PM.

  17. #17
    Community Member Munkenmo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lvillanueva9 View Post
    I already did a reincarnate and followed your 2 weapon fighter build. The only difference is that I chose 7 points in halfling since I'm not human. But nowhere do I see a weapon finesse feat, so how does this build allow you to use dex instead of str?

    I'm asking because i don't know lol. So please don't think I'm questioning your build. Like I said, it's been a while. Also, I do another heart of wood to respec in a couple of days if I totally screwed this one up.

    Thanks!
    Good question, thanks for bringing it up, i'm about to edit my build to make note of it too.

    You'll see in the enhancements I've got 3 core abilities in ninja spy by level 6.

    Core 1 & 2 grant dex to hit, and dex to damage with piercing and slashing weapons.

    Basic Ninja Training: You are proficient with short swords and treat them as Ki weapons. While you are centered, you can use your Dexterity modifier to hit with piercing and slashing weapons.
    AP Cost: 1 Ranks: 1 Progression: 0 Requires: Monk Level 1
    Advanced Ninja Training: You can use your Dexterity modifier for damage with piercing and slashing melee weapons and shuriken. You also gain a chance based on your Dexterity score to throw an extra shuriken per attack.
    AP Cost: 1 Ranks: 1 Progression: 5 Requires: Monk Level 3, Basic Ninja Training

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    Oh wow, major fail on my part. I didn't even notice that. LOL. With all that said, can I still follow your 2weapon fighting build, but using a halfling instead? I already gave you my stats in a previous posts. Thanks!

    Oh, also, one more question, so..should I be using short swords instead of kamas then? Because right now, I'm using some +3 kamas in each hand.

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    Community Member Munkenmo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lvillanueva5 View Post
    Oh wow, major fail on my part. I didn't even notice that. LOL. With all that said, can I still follow your 2weapon fighting build, but using a halfling instead? I already gave you my stats in a previous posts. Thanks!

    Oh, also, one more question, so..should I be using short swords instead of kamas then? Because right now, I'm using some +3 kamas in each hand.
    Of course you can, as for the feat loss, I would give up dragon mark.

    As for the enhancements, as you increase in levels you'll likely find yourself capable of reaching the dodge cap, there's a tier 2 enhancement in the halfling tree called Nimble Reaction that increases the dodge cap by up to +3, it stacks with Agility in ninja spy, so you'll be able to aim towards having a dodge score of 31%. I'd probably invest lightly in the halfling tree early on, but by cap it's definately got some nice enhancements for you.

    Kama's vs swords is a bit debatable depending on your weapon. In general short swords will do more damage than a kama with identical properties. There are however some nice named kama's (foresters brush hook) and kama's have the ability to bypass slashing DR, so it's definitely worth having a set on you.
    - imo, if you're crafting things like greensteel, go short swords.
    - if you're picking up random/named loot compare the base damage, crit range and procs then use the you like more.

    I have advised taking improved critical piercing though, so if you follow the build as written, short swords will more often than not be the better option. (also look into trying to get a set of Vampiric Shortswords from the second lordsmarch quest chain. They're great short swords for newer players.
    Last edited by fTdOmen; 08-31-2014 at 01:28 AM.

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    Community Member kachin1's Avatar
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    Brand new to the game, I love the whole concept of a monk with a staff. Im going to try it when I fly home later today.
    I was just wondering about equipment use, not sure what stats I should be looking for for my various equipment, could you make a few suggestions?

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