The Monk class in Diablo 3 is fairly versatile. In many ways it's more versatile than many of the heroes and classes in Heroes of the Storm. When the Monk was first announced as an addition to the recent Heroes of the Storm expansion, Eternal Conflict, most assumed it would be an Assassin or Support class. While Blizzard officially classifies the Monk as a Support class, it breaks the boundaries of the class as we generally know it.
While we don't have a lot of information on what the Monk will bring to table, we have some insight into his Heroes of the Storm incarnation, and we can look at what he was capable of in Diablo 3. It's been awhile since a new Support hero was added to the game, and as it stands there are quite a few mixed feelings on how the Support heroes play. Some believe Li Li is the best Support hero because she has the best raw healing ability. However, she lacks the crowd control and pushing capabilities of Malfurion. At the same time, Malfurion doesn't have a way to quickly heal a party, so if you get in trouble during a team fight Malfurion's healing won't save you like Li Li's can.
We know that the Monk's level one ability determines which trait he has for the rest of the game. We also know that the trait you select will determine if the Monk is a straight healer or if he can dish out some damage as well via an offensive or defensive stance. Looking at the existing Support classes in Heroes of the Storm, it makes sense for the Monk to having the healing power of Li Li if you opt for that trait. However, we imagine his damage will increase, with his healing taking a hit if you opt for a different trait at level one. Whatever the case ends up being, we fully expect the Monk to have healing close to what Li Li offers since she's currently the only hero who can offer spike heals to multiple characters and quickly heal a party during a team battle.
It has also been confirmed that the Monk can jump around the battlefield to heal enemies. We don't know if this is akin to Brightwing who can literally teleport to any friendly hero, or if the range will be limited in some way. Looking at what the Monk has to offer in Diablo 3, he can blind enemies, similar to Li Li's Blinding Wind ability, so don't be surprised to see an area of effect (AoE) blinding ability. He can also employ a protective shield and even place a rune on the ground that reduces damage taken by any friendly heroes within the rune. These skills would be fairly easy to transfer over to Heroes of the Storm and it would make sense to see the Monk able to heal and offer damage reduction effects for the entire party. This would almost make him like a hybrid of Li Li, Brightwing and Tassadar.
On the offensive side of the things, we saw the Seven-Sided Strike in the debut trailer for the class. In Diablo 3 this ability allows him to dash rapidly between enemies, inflicting significant damage. It seems as though this would be more of a Heroic ability than a basic option he'll have available to him. While it's not uncommon to see Support heroes with damaging Heroic abilities, it would be interesting if it has some crowd control features such as the ability to stun or slow enemies that are hit by the attack.
Another interesting ability from Diablo 3 is the Mystic Ally. This allows the Monk to summon an ally to help him in battle. Think of it like Nova's Holo Decoy ability in which the Monk would summon an ally that can potentially dish out damage, or in this case, heal the party while the Monk takes the offensive. The possibilities are very interesting given the fact that the Monk will be so versatile on the battlefield. The real question is how much will that level one decision impact the rest of the game. Will you still be able to steer the Monk toward a more healing-based build if you select the offensive stance at the start or is your selection at level one definitive?
With Leoric just hitting the Nexus this past month, the Monk is expected to arrive around the middle of August, but all Blizzard has said thus far is that the Monk is part of the Eternal Conflict expansion. Check out our build guides for Leoric and The Butcher, and stay with us for a guide on the Monk once the class hits the Nexus.