Some would argue that the Monk is the most hotly anticipated new character class because it is so unlike anything to come before it in the Diablo universe. Certainly, there was a Monk class in the semi-canonical Diablo: Hellfire expansion, but the similarities are in name only.

Besides their unique attributes and skills, perhaps what will ultimately draw fans to the Monk class is the Monk’s dichotomous existence. After all, the hands that they use to heal are the very same hands they use to destroy. Or perhaps players across the world will gravitate towards the monk’s Daoist philosophy of maintaining the balance of the natural world.

Or maybe it’s because Monks can break through solid cinder blocks with their bare fists.

Natural Dichotomy

The Monk is something of an anomaly by all accounts, and the first indication of this comes from first impressions alone. Clearly the inspiration for the Monk’s appearance and dress is derived from Chinese Buddhist temple monks, yet the male Monk sports an uncharacteristic beard and has an accent that smacks of Eastern Europe. Imagine Zangief shaving all his hair off and putting on Shaolin temple robes: that is the male Monk in a nutshell.

Of course, the existential paradoxes don’t end there. Monks possess a natural strength capable of wielding immense destructive power, yet, unlike Barbarians, they are not built to survive prolonged exposure to danger. This is because they spurn heavy armor and sacrifice physical defense in favor of lighter clothes and improved mobility.

The Need for Speed

The Monk’s inherent attack speed is unparalleled. They are built to attack early and attack often. For Monks, the phrase, “The best defense is a good offense,” is particularly pertinent: if their barrage of attack combos is successful, the target will have been destroyed before the possibility of a counter attack. However, if the enemy survives the onslaught, the Monk will surely pay a heavy price in damage. 

Although they have the skill and the knowhow to effectively use a variety of weapons, their weapons of choice are their own two fists. You might think that this limitation would hamper their range, but this is actually not the case due to several of the Monk’s extremely useful skills.

One early skill not only extends the Monk’s reach to insane lengths, but it also attacks multiple targets in a straight line. Another allows the Monk to teleport directly to the target in order to deliver a powerful lightning punch – an extremely useful tactic against fleeing or teleporting enemies. When it comes time to determine the most mobile class in the game, techniques like these surely give Demon Hunters a run for their money.

We’ve Got Spirit, Yes We Do

The main resource of the Monk is Spirit, which seems to be generated only by successful primary attacks. With Spirit points, Monks are able to execute wondrous skills that are both offensive and defensive in nature, further emphasizing their philosophy of balance.

The Monk’s offensive arsenal contains a deadly variety of skills, most of which concentrate on enemies at close range or multiple enemies across certain distances. One particularly fun and interesting skill is called “Tempest Rush,” which allows your Monk to run around the screen, weapons whirling. As the Monk runs, all enemies within a certain radius are afflicted with multiple hits, and this attack continues until you release the mouse button or run out of Spirit.

Eventually, as a means of protection against monsters in later levels, the Monk will eventually learn a wide variety of defense and support skills. The early skills involve simplistic party healing or defensive shielding, but later levels earn you access to Mantras, which are skills that have lengthier durations and stronger effects.

The Monk’s Glass Jaw

Monks will no doubt be a popular class among players at first. Their novelty alone will cause most of the Diablo faithful to rush to their ranks as their initial characters, so expect to see a lot of Monks on the servers. However, like all of the classes in this game, there has to be a glaring weakness somewhere, right?

Well, with the Monk, it may be far easier to get lulled into a false sense of security than with any other character class. For instance, because their range and healing ability is so comparatively terrible, Barbarians often need to team up with support characters to make it through the game’s later stages. And as for all the other character classes that rely on range or magic, there’s always that nagging fear of getting trapped in a corner and being hit with powerful melee attacks.

However, in the early stages of the game, it might seem that the Monk has no weaknesses. Because of their immense power and speed, players may forget about their comparatively low defense – that is, until they get caught in a melee brawl with a powerful boss, and by then, it’ll be too late.

To prevent such an outcome, plan out your defense and support skills carefully and bring the right teammates to finish the job, and most of all, keep moving!

And if all else fails, try a spinning piledriver. I know the Monk’s got it in him somewhere.

For more class-specific strategy, be sure to check out our other Diablo 3 class mini guides!

• Demon Hunter

• Barbarian

Witch Doctor

More to come!