Guide to playing as a Monk

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Guide to playing as a Monk

Post  Abby on Thu Mar 20, 2008 12:50 pm

Overview

Monks are the healing backbone of a party, keeping the other players alive and healthy. They get the unique Divine Favor bonus and two entire skill lines solely devoted to keeping those health bars up.

Attributes

Divine Favor
The primary monk attribute, which gives the divine favor bonus: A small additional boost of health whenever you heal a target.

Healing Prayers
One of the two main skill lines monks use, dedicated to restoring health bars.

Protection Prayers
The second main skill line used, dedicated to preventing health loss.

Smiting Prayers
The marginalised monk damage skill line.

Equipment

In general, it is more important for monks not to die compared to other classes. A front line character dying hurts the party, but a monk dying can easily lead to a full party wipe. Therefore most of the time monk equipment is centered around defensive mods. In the beginning however, the only mandatory thing is to get a full max armor (Armor rating 60) as soon as possible.

Weapons
In PvE Using a staff or a wand and focus is almost the same. Usually if you are using Protection Prayers spells, a 20% enchantment mod is a good idea. Other interesting mods includes +5 armor, +5 energy or +30 health. Most monks in PvP use a one handed martial weapons because they are more modable than wand and the ability to use a shield. While useful in PvP, it is not as needed in PvE and harder to play (autoattacking with a martial weapon is a bad mistake), you should try this only when you confident in your abilities.

An advanced tactic, weapon swapping, combines the advantages of different equipment.

Armor
Monks should avoid using superior runes, as the -75 health is hazardous; Reducing your life can make you die faster and PvE monsters tend to attack the target with the least life. For the same reason getting a rune of Vigor (the higher the better, since these do not have a health reduction) is a high priority for monks.

Try to craft a headpiece with a bonus to the attribute you use the most and put a minor rune of that attribute on it. Avoid Divine Favor headpieces as the bonuses you can get from a headpiece in Protection Prayers or Healing Prayers almost always outweigh the bonuses you can get from a Divine Favor headpiece. You should place a minor divine favor on one on your armor part as it will be useful for all builds.

Many experienced PvPers will advise you to use Survivor Insignias on your armor for the increase of health to be able to counter spikes easier. In PvE you will encounter less armor-ignoring damage and spikes than in PvP and you can reduce the damage dealt to you best by choosing from a variety of armor increasing insignias that suit your build. If you are not comfortable with energy management, using Radiant Insignia is a good idea. Many monks in PvP use shields for the armor bonus: Even if you don't meet the requirements you still get half the armor bonus.

Understanding the Profession

Healing vs preventing
In general, there are two ways of keeping your team mates alive: Heal them if they got hit, or prevent them from taking damage in the first place. In guild wars, those two aspects are related to one monk attribute each: You heal with Healing Prayers and you prevent damage with Protection Prayers. Both are entirely viable, yet as a rule of thumb, preventing damage is more useful in later stages of the game and requires more experience than healing.

Healing
If you decided to use healing prayers, you will focus on watching the party list and using the appropriate skills on those that are low. Your skill bar will include a small number of spammable single target skills, a party heal and a few special purpose skills. Do not leave out the resurrection skill, unless you are 100% sure you won't need it (check the section on resurrection below).

Overhealing
The one big issue that keeps you from being a healing machine is your energy. Almost all of a monks problems revolve around this. In case of a healing monk, this means first and foremost to avoid overhealing. Do not waste a skill healing for 140 health points on a party member only missing 50 health points to full health. Note that it is your job to keep your party alive, not keeping them at 100% health. It is perfectly fine and in several cases advisable NOT to heal party members who got damaged for a small amount of health. Wait until they are damaged strongly enough that you won't overheal. Knowing how long you can wait without risking a death because of a sudden spike of damage is part of being a good healing monk.

Spike healing and pressure healing
Sometimes, a party member will get hit by a lot of enemies for a lot of damage in a short time. That is when you need spike heals. Those are the one target heals with a big oomph of healing output, like Infuse Health. At other times, no one is in immediate danger of dying, but the whole parties loses health over time, for example from health degeneration or area of effect skills. In this case you need pressure health (e.g. Heal Party) that have a good healing/energy used ratio. Spike heals will always be more costly in terms of energy, you pay for their ability to bring that health bonus where you want without delay. To keep you energy bar up, use pressure heals whenever you can, spike heals only when needed.

Synergies
Many healing skills heal for a basic amount of health, but heal for more if some criteria are met. For example, Dwayna's Kiss profits from hexes and enchantments on the target or Words of Comfort from conditions. There are many other examples with other criteria. If you see a team member is fullfilling one of those criteria and you have the appropriate skill on your bar, use it instead of your normal heal to deliver a much bigger boost (and therefore be more energy efficient).

Protection
Whereas healing monks can simply rely on the party list, protection monks need to take their surroundings into account as well. Your skills are wasted if you cast them on someone who will not be hit. Of course a first approximation is: If someone just got hit, he will be hit again. In most cases you will fare ok with this, but really good protections monks see who is going to be hit and cast their spells even before the first hit lands. Also, protection monks need to assess what kind of damage will land to use the correct countermeasure: Is the attacker an elementalist boss who will take away hundreds of health points with one skill? Protective Spirit is the correct solution. Is it a warrior boss? Use guardian. Or does someone need protection right now without any time to figure out what hit? Reversal of Fortune is a great stop-gap measure.

Conditions
Most of the monk condition removing skills are concentrated in the protection line. As such it is usually the protection monks job to keep the party condition free. Take a look at the condition section below for more detail.

Protection and healing?
The biggest problem for protection monks is: What to do once the bars are down? Whether you protected the wrong person or someone was out of casting range, sooner or later you will be faced with the situation of very low health bars that need to be brought back to full. The easiest solution, is of course to have a healing monk with you. The protection monk protects, the healing monk heals those that the protection monk misses. However there are some other possibilities that a protection monk has:

Going dual: Using both healing and protection skills. This is done by many experienced monks, who usually bring along one skill to heal up (Gift of Health is great for this). The downfall is that by spreading your attributes, your individual skills get weaker.
Using Zealous Benediction: Despite being in protection prayers, this skill is in effect a healing one. Add the energy gain and this is a great elite for protection monks who do not want to go dual.
Using Divine Favor: Every monk uses divine favor for the divine favor bonus, but the skill list also features some pressure heals, giving those who use neither of the above options at least some ability to heal.



Tactics

Kiting and positioning
More than any other classes, monks need to kite.

Kiting is the action of running away from the enemy to avoid being hit. Melee attackers often carry Knockdown, and when you are knocked down, you can't cast. During this time, you and your team can be pummelled by the opponents. Also, while kiting, you reduce the pressure on your team as foes are not able to cause damage.

Along with kiting, monks should also try to get to safe positions. The most basic thing is to stay in the backline of the party. Monsters tend to attack characters close to them and will rarely run through the whole group. You can also use walls to avoid projectile spells and attacks. Keep in mind that you need to be in casting range for your teammates to benefit from your positional survival advantage.

Dealing with conditions
Only few other professions are able to remove conditions, thus your party will expect you to deal with them. The first goal of a monk is to be able to identify the kind of condition(s) on the target. Disease and Poison color the health bar green, while Bleeding turns it light pink. Deep Wound is recognizable by replacing part of the health bar with a grey block. All other conditions (cripple/blind/dazed/cracked armor and burn), however, only show up as a small brown down arrow on the health bar. Monks need to either look at the actual character model or monitor the skills used by enemies to distinguish these.

In cases of Degeneration (poison/bleeding), and especially the case of Apply Poison, where the target of a condition removal will often have it reapplied within seconds of being cured, it is often more efficient to apply a long term regeneration effect to negate it, rather than having to focus all effort on keeping the one or two conditions off, thus neglecting the rest of the party, and wasting far more energy in the process.

Not all conditions are equally severe, so monks must prioritize which conditions to remove: Blind is very strong on a warrior, yet can be safely ignored on a caster. It is the other way round for Dazed. Deep Wound and Cracked Armor endanger one character under immediate attack, while Disease and Bleeding are more likely to out pressure your energy.

When choosing your condition removal skill especially consider the recharge: Conditions are applied often and quickly, so the condition removal benefits a lot from a small down time. Also keep in mind that it is very useful to be able to remove conditions from yourself if you are the only monk in the party.

See Skills: Restore Condition, Dismiss Condition

Dealing with hexes
Hexes are harder to remove, harder to identify and usually have stronger effects than conditions. Any hex on a team mate will add a pink down arrow to the health bar, while some health degeneration hexes will additionally color the health bar bright pink.

Since hexes vary widely in their severity, it is even more important than for conditions to know who is suffering from which hex. It might be a good idea to get your team mates to "ping" (control + left click on the hex icon) important hexes and only remove those.

Hex removal skills come in a wide variety. Several good ones are mesmer skills (See: Expel Hexes) - one reason why some monks prefer to have a mesmer secondary profession. Hex heavy regions might need an elite hex removal skill or several normal ones, but you should always have at least one on your skill bar.

Resurrecting team members
As a rule of thumb, monks should never resurrect allies during battle. In the time it would take you to resurrect your teammate, someone else might die due to you being busy resurrecting and not healing. In PvE monks need a resurrection skill to bring team members up to live after the battle, to preserve the fast working signets for more tense situation.

PvE: In terms of PvE, one skill clearly outshines all others and should not miss on a monk bar: Rebirth lets you resurrect team mates, without aggroing nearby monsters, thus often saves a party from a wipe.

PvP: In PvP resurrection skills are a rarity as most monks prefer to leave the resurrecting to other party members and use that slot for something else.
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Guide Part 2

Post  Abby on Thu Mar 20, 2008 12:50 pm

Playing in a party

As healers, monks usually get into groups fast. After all, everyone needs a healer. However monks are usually the first to be blamed if something goes wrong. The reason is that, unlike other classes, monks can never let down their concentration. A warrior does not attack the enemy for 20 seconds, well the dervish will instead, or that particular enemy is killed a bit later. Not a big problem. But a monk stopping to heal for 20 seconds? Quite likely a party wipe. Parties expect, and have a right to expect, that you monitor the Party health status all the time. The usual party also includes 6 non-healers, but only 2 healers. One of the 6 missing can be compensated for, one of the 2 missing cannot. When playing a monk, always be on the ball.

One note on Smiting Prayers: Your party will always expect a healer when they see a monk. If you are not, advertise that fact well in advance (or play with heroes) or you are in for some very angry lines in team chat.

What to Avoid

Useless maintained enchantments: Monks often believe that through the use of Mending, they can prolong their life, which is false. By choosing to maintain mending, you sacrifice 1 pip of energy regeneration, and most often, bring Blessed Signet instead. Blessed Signet has a slow activation time and yields little benefit, and mending doesn't provide nearly enough regeneration to survive in any place other than Pre-Searing. Similar enchants which provide no true benefits should be avoided unless necessary. Likewise, 55HP Monks are generally useless in PvE: you will spend too much time focusing on keeping yourself alive and a simple enchantment removal will render you useless to your party. Monks should be used for support characters; the skills they have compliment this path far better than other routes.

Another common mistake is use of expensive (in terms of energy) healing or protection spells which yield little benefit. Heal Party is a useful skill, however, it is very expensive and should be used sparingly. There are many healing skills that use 5 energy, but provide maximum results, such as Word of Healing, Dwayna's Kiss, Ethereal Light, Healing Ring, Words of Comfort and Healing Whisper. A good 10 energy skill is Healing Ribbon, which is very useful for healing melee front-line party members.

Avoid resurrecting team mates with skills such as Rebirth and Resurrect during the heat of combat. Rebirth consumes all your energy, and will render you useless to your party for 5-10 seconds as you wait to recharge. Similarly, the party members resurrected with either skill are returned with very low health, energy and disabled skills. Rebirth is useful to pull members back from a party wipe, and Resurrect is useful for after-combat resurrection.

Damage Skills
With very rare exceptions monks leave the damage dealing to other players and focus on keeping the party alive.

Play Styles

Special case: Bonding
A third, rarer breed of monks specialises in the use of "bonds", protective enchantments, which are kept up on many or even all party members. More than the other two species of monks, bonders are very situational. A skilled Bonder might keep 7, up to 9 enchantments active at one time, and still manage to cast aegis every time it recharges, providing immense damage reduction support. At other times, bonding monks are completely useless (Such as when you encounter a great deal of enchantment removal). Only use a bonder if you know what type of enemy you will be facing.

See Skills: Life Bond, Life Barrier, Blessed Signet

Special case: Smiting
Next to the three skill lines based on healing, monks have a fourth attribute devoted to damaging the enemy. With very, very few exceptions, smite monks are less useful than other damage dealing classes. And with even higher probability, they will be the target of ridicule and anger of pick up groups. Some people prefer to play smiting for the versitility smiting can offer (when combined with other attributes), however smiting is still very hard to run. If you want to play a smite monk, make sure your party is aware before you enter the mission/area.

Choice of Secondary Professions

Monks are party support characters, rarely ever needing to use damage dealing skills from other professions. Thus monks mostly use their secondary profession for energy management and self defense.

Warrior
Many monks use the warrior profession for self defense.
The skill Shield Bash is very useful for getting melee characters off you.
Balanced Stance is a very good skill for preventing knockdowns and stopping critical hits.
There are many other skills in the Tactics that can be used to help defend yourself.



Ranger
Melandru's Resilience can be used for energy management in certain builds.



Necromancer
Some monks used to use Offering of Blood but since its nerf to 20% health sacrifice it has fallen into disuse.



Mesmer
The mesmer has many skills useful for energy management and hex removal.
Channeling is a very common skill on monks in Heroes' Ascent.
Hex Breaker is often used to prevent hexes from coming on to you in the first place.



Elementalist
Glyph of Lesser Energy is a very common energy management skill for monks.
Storm Djinn's Haste can be used on a flag runner in GvG.
Grasping Earth can be used to make it easier to kite.
Glyph of Sacrifice can be used to cast resurrection skills nearly instantly.



Assassin
Shadow Arts skills like Return are very good for getting away from melee characters.

Ritualist
Offering of Spirit could be used for energy management in a build.



Paragon
Some of the Paragon shouts, such as "Brace Yourself!" or "Make Haste!" can be used to help buff the party.



Dervish
Conviction can be used to help stay alive.
Signet of Mystic Speed and Signet of Pious Restraint are often used on flag runners.
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Re: Guide to playing as a Monk

Post  Musei Namida on Sat Jul 18, 2009 1:04 pm

Hey bud, where did you get this guide?
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Re: Guide to playing as a Monk

Post  Lea [RUNI] on Sat Jul 18, 2009 2:06 pm

Great guide Chris! Smile

I like it. ^^

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