This guide was created by Div of the Guild Wars Guru Monk Forums. To see the original post click here.
-1.1 Divine favor
-1.2 Healing prayers
-1.3 Protection prayers
-1.4 Smiting prayers
-2.1 Wand vs staff
-2.4 Example sets
-2.5 Reasoning behind sets
-3.1 Basics of skill selection
-3.2 Heal vs Prot
-3.3 Energy Issues
-3.4 Some current builds
4. Hero and Henchies
-4.2 Team build selections
Disclaimer: Though I try not to, I will inevitably use some abbreviations. I'll list some of the common ones here. LoD= Light of deliverance, WoH= word of healing, SH= shielding hands, SoA= shield of absorption, PS= protective spirit, SB= spirit bond, RoF= reversal of fortune, HB= healers boon, HP= heal party, GoLE= glyph of lesser energy (ele skill).
1. Introduction: The monk profession was created in order to greatly support your party. It has a great variety of both healing and protection skills, as well as smiting skills that can augment the powers of your team. In general, monks are expected to keep the party alive. Some monks may choose to go smiting for damage (and it can be useful in situations such as Shards of Orr dungeon), but in general, other professions can do damage better, but no profession can keep a team alive as well as a monk.
1.1 Divine favor: This attribute provides a healing bonus to all spells that target allies, and increases the duration and effectiveness of spells that help you call forth divine powers to aid your allies.
Basic attribute that most monks will put many points into. This is the main thing that distinguishes a primary monk from a secondary monk. With 10 points in divine favor, almost every monk spell you cast will heal for an additional 32 health, making the spells much more energy efficient.
1.2 Healing prayers: Points allocated to Healing Prayers increase the duration and effectiveness of spells that allow you to heal yourself and your allies.
Attribute line for making people's health go up, for the most part. This is extremely important, because monks have some of the strongest heals in the game for when your allies are low on health.
1.3 Protection prayers: Allocate points to Protection Prayers to increase the duration and effect of your Protection spells, which help protect you and your allies from harm.
Most important attribute line for the monk. Other classes, such as the ritualist and dervish, have the ability to heal targets (or entire parties) when they are low on health. However, no other class is capable of preventing as much damage as a monk through protection prayers. For example, a single 10 energy protective spirit may prevent over 1000 damage from hard-hitting bosses over the course of its duration. No healing spell compares with it in terms of health gain/energy.
1.4 Smiting prayers: Smiting Prayers increase the duration and effectiveness of skills that inflict damage on the enemy. Smiting Prayers are especially effective against the undead.
The only damage attribute line for the monk. They do double damage versus undead, making smiting useful for certain areas such as Shards of Orr. However, outside of that, the damage is outright pathetic compared to any other class. Great line if you want to have fun switching up builds and do damage, but not very useful for the most part.
2. Equipment: Equipment is basically used to augment your powers by adding additional energy, health, casting speed, skill recharge, armor, etc.
2.1 Wand vs staff: A wand is a caster weapon that can be used in conjunction with an offhand to greatly increase your stats. A staff is a two handed weapon, which means you will not be able to have access to your offhand should you choose to use it. What a staff gives access to is the ability to have half skill recharge 20% on all your skills (if you use more than one attribute), as well as the 20% enchanting mod. For me, I have both a wand+offhand set and a staff set depending on what build I’m running and what skills I’m casting.
2.2 Swords/axes/spears: They’re all pretty much the same thing, giving you access to additional health+30, 20% enchanting, and/or the +5 unconditional energy bonus without giving up your offhand. Unless you spec into swordsmanship, etc., you won’t be getting much damage out of those weapons. Instead, they’ll take the place of wands. Which one you decide to use is up to you, but in general people choose swords or axes because they’re prettier and spears because they’re useful in hitting stuff like Reversal of Fortune/Damage.
2.3 Shields: Now you might ask, why would I give up my +12 energy offhand for a shield? Well, when chosen correctly, a shield can add up to +26 armor to your monk (+16 base and +10 vs specific damage). That leads to about a damage reduction of around 30%. So instead of getting bashed for 100, you’re hit for 70 instead. In the long run, that prevents a lot of damage on you and can save you from dying.
Originally Posted by Ensign
The same reason every other class in the game should carry a shield - the extra defense. If you are not attacking or casting a spell, the weapon and offhand that you have equipped do not matter, so they might as well be as defensive as possible, with as much health and armor as you can get. A lot of the time it doesn't cost you anything and has a lot of benefits. If you're taking fire and running away, for instance, pulling out a shield and health weapon can help you survive longer at no cost. If you are just standing there waiting, as Monks often do, you might as well be in a shield set; that leaves you as well defended as possible for whatever might go wrong.
The benefits you gain from using caster items aren't all that important a lot of the time. The +12 energy, for instance, is only a useful mod to have when you need more *current* energy; as long as you have enough energy to cast the spells you would want to cast, that +12 is doing nothing for you. You would be better off with a shield exposed to reduce some damage, and then pull out your focus when you need the energy.
2.4 Example sets: Enough with the theory crafting. Here’s what I use as my four weapon sets on a heal/prot monk.
Set 1: Protection staff. +10 energy, 2x 20% half cast time (HCT), 20% half skill recharge all spells (HSR), 20% enchanting.
I use this set primarily to cast my protection prayers stuff. The half casting time and skill recharge is very helpful for spells like Aegis, SoA, and Guardian. The enchanting mod makes sure your prots stay on longer.
Set 2: Sword+Shield. Sword has +5 energy, +30 health. Shield has +16 armor (+8 if I don’t meet the requirements), +30 health, and +10 armor vs slashing
I switch the mod on the shield based on the region I’m dealing with—for example if I’m in Southern Shiverpeaks I’d take a +10 armor vs cold. It is basically my defense set that I’ll switch to whenever I’m taking damage to reduce the amount of total damage dealt to me. You can go with a +5 energy +5 armor sword too.
Some crude numbers to help explain why -5/20% mods are so bad:
+10 armor vs a type of damage is approximately 16% damage reduction against that type of damage. That's a bit better than taking off 1/7th of the damage.
-5/20% takes off, on average, 1 damage per hit.
Against a particular damage type, +10 armor vs that type and -5/20% are equivalent when you would otherwise be taking 7 damage per hit. More than that, and the +10 vs type is a better mod.
-5/20% works against all 3 physical damage types, while +10AL only works against one type. If you are expecting an even mix of all 3 physical damage types, and feared them all equally, then it would make sense to take the +5/20% mod when the average hit you take deals 21 damage. If you take more than 21 damage per hit on average, then +10 armor against any one of those physical damage types is going to do more than +5/20%.
An average level 20 monster does damage very similar to a player. Sword and axe hits deal about 35 damage, bows 40, hammers 50. Higher level monsters deal more damage as appropriate.
On a caster that never changes which shield he uses, you're going to prevent twice as much damage with the +10 AL mod over the -5/20% mod, and that's assuming you're fighting normal level 20 enemies. Against higher level monsters, or in hard mode, or against bosses, the +10 AL mod looks even better by comparison.
Plus you can tailor your shield to a particular set of enemies; if the piercing or blunt damage is more dangerous than the slashing, you can switch shields and get even more of a benefit. But again even if you never switch in PvE, you're preventing a whole lot more damage with the +10 AL shield than the -5/20% shield - instead of it triggering randomly, it only triggers against certain damage types.
The only place you should ever consider DR shields is on a Warrior or other hard target with a lot of inherent armor and armor buffs; when you have a ton of armor, DR becomes more attractive to clean up the damage that comes through. On a caster, DR is virtually never better than +10 vs slashing, piercing, or blunt.
Set 3: Wand+Offhand. Wand and offhand both have 20% HCT and 20% HSR on the attribute. Normally on a heal or hybrid monk, it’ll be healing prayers. If I go blessed light with a lot of divine favor stuff, then it’ll be divine.
Great for casting stuff like heal party (2 seconds is pretty bad), getting recharge on WoH or cure hex means you get to pump a lot of health back to the target. In general, I use this when casting heals, because it’ll make them a lot more effective and let me be able to cast more of them in the same timeframe if needed.
Set 4: Wand+Offhand high set. Wand and offhand both have +15 energy / -1 energy regen. The other mods are up to choice. I would go with 15/-1 and +30 health on the offhand. The wand stats could be 15/-1 and 20% HSR of your attribute or 15/-1 and 10% global HSR.
This is the “emergency” set that you can switch to in order to save your target from dying when you’re out of energy on regular sets. I’ve had many cases where switching to this set (and back to another set for regen) saved my team from wiping. Be sure to let your team know that you’re on this set so they give you more time to regen your energy after the battle though.
Some additional info for the weapon sets (includes some advanced tactics for PvP as well):
At the beginning of a match you adjust your shield set. Do a quick inspection of the opposing team, and change your shield's damage type to match up with the biggest threat from the other team. In GvG this is typically either Slashing or Blunt; in Heroes Ascent it is generally Fire. It is generally not worth microing your shield selection beyond that during a match. Also, if you see your opponent using a significant amount of unconditional edenial (Surge, Burn, Weariness, etc) then swap the +5 energy spear out for a -5 energy spear, to hide more energy while sitting on your shield.
Whenever you are not casting you should be on your shield set. There's no better set to be on when not using skills. When casting any spell switch to the set with the appropriate mods, the 40/40 healing set for healing spells and the enchanting prot staff for your prot skills. After casting switch back to your shield set. It's usually worth switching weapons to cast any Monk spell except for Reversal of Fortune.
Only go into your high set (15/-1s) when you no longer have energy to cast on your other 3 sets but need to cast anyway. You should be crying on vent about being stuck in your high set because you're in bad shape. Again only switch into your high set to cast; after casting go back into your shield set.
Those weapon sets work for most Monk bars. Occasionally you will want to swap out one of the latter two 'casting' sets for some other set of mods depending on your skillset; for instance a smiter's boon character, or a prot monk with no healing skills. Look at your skill bar and figure out what sets of mods are most important, and create two casting sets for those. For instance on a Smiter's Boon character you will want a 40/40 Smiting set or a 40% HCT / 20% enchanting smiting set to cast on.
2.5 Reasoning behind sets: PvE is a place to have fun, relax, or do whatever, and I definitely agree. You can be really lazy when monking in PvE and get away with it (most of the time). However, if you've never weapon swapped before and want to get better at the game, at least practice swapping between your normal set and your high set. This'll help keep your party alive much longer than you ever thought was possible. This is also good preparation for GvG monking. People mock PvErs for being bad, but that's because many people don't know how to take PvE seriously when you can get away with playing at 70% efficiency. However, if you want good practice to be a GvG monk, pick certain zones that you'll take extra seriously and do weapon swaps as if you were in a GvG. Weapon swapping doesn't come naturally to most players, and being able to do it well will already place you above 95% of the monks on the ladder.
2.6 Armors: I will generally run +health on my armor, because saving yourself from dying is much better than being able to cast another heal spell. After all, if you’re dead, you’re not healing. Maybe people have argued for the use of superior runes in PvE (and some have made decent arguments, though not convincing to me), but I will follow the same philosophy. A dead monk is a useless monk. I rather be alive with no energy (with the chance to regen energy and save the team) than dead.
People often use the argument of "I got through the game with a superior and two majors," confusing it with having the best setup. Just because you beat the game or can do HM stuff with a suboptimal bar/equipment, it doesn't mean that it can be a valid argument for the most optimal setup. I've ran monks with bulls strike in GvG before and still destroyed teams. Does it mean that it's the best? Definitely not, as taking bulls strike means losing out on another utility prot/heal, self defense, or energy management.
Here's my argument on Superior vs Minor runes: Inexperienced players like to look at skills and when they see big numbers, they're happy. While it is true with damage attributes such as fire magic, what you have to realize is that most of the time, the extra few points of healing/divine doesn't really matter, since you're either going to be overhealing a target (aka bringing them to more than their maximum health), or it'll bring them to something like 80% (as opposed to 79% with a minor), the fight will end, and they'll regen to full. Having more prot works the same way (in terms of damage prevention, and the duration of the prot often doesn't matter at all since the fight is either over before it expires or the mob has already removed it by expiring. In either case, you won't feel the benefits of the superior rune, even though the numbers may look bigger. However, what you will feel is the cold floor when the elementalist or ritualist boss smacks you for 550 health (which just happened today--damn Duncan--and I was glad I had 640 health!).
3. Skills: Skills are used on a monk to help support your party and prevent it from dying. Whether you choose to do so with protection to prevent damage from going down or healing to heal up lost health is up to you (or the build or leader of group).
3.1 Basics of skill selection: Your skills should have a good variety of functions. You should in general take a hex removal (for important hexes), a condition removal (such as dismiss condition), a heal or two, and a prot or two. I don’t support taking a rez but you can do that too. You generally don’t want multiple spells that do the exact same thing (for example taking WoH, orison, dwaynas kiss, words of comfort, and healing touch in one bar), and heals over time (healing breeze) are for the most part bad. Replicate spells are bad because they use up valuable bar space and you rarely have to use all of them, since they all do pretty much the same thing. You’re better off taking a greater variety of skills so you can use different ones in different situations. Heals over time are bad because in general, you want your target to live. If he’s at 100 health, you don’t want him slowly regenning 20 health per second. He’s going to die that way.
Hex removal is one of the unclear areas in PvE. Before, I didn't take it at all because there weren't any hexes that were so punishing that I needed a hex removal for the sake of just removing that one hex. It's often a waste to remove a hex only to have the another enemy in the mob put it on again 2 seconds later. Now, with cure hex, I mainly use it as a VERY cheap 5 energy, 114+32 point heal that has the side effect of getting rid of a hex.
You can get rid of a condition or hex removal for a hard rez like rebirth if you want, but I usually leave the rezzing to other members of the party since you want to be...healing/protting in battle. If you're the only one alive, then there's something wrong with your team...
3.2 Heal vs prot: There’s been a lot of debate on this, and the general consensus for a good build is to run a hybrid.
One of the main reasons for running hybrid monks is versatility - there is no point bringing a skillbar filled with healing skills that all do the same thing when you can do the job with 1 or 2 and get a mix of effects in the other slots. For this reason, a monk bar is typically extremely cramped which is why they tend to not vary much in PvP play - the skills used are the best for their job in each area. Hybrid bars allow damage reduction, condi/hex removal, and healing with the most efficient skills from more than one line - allowing the monk(s) to do a better job in any situation while conserving energy.
The thing to realize when making a 'healer' is that you don't need 8 slots worth of heals to be an effective healer. A character with LoD and 2 spot heals (Dwayna's Kiss plus your choice of Healing Whisper, Ethereal Light, Signet of Rejuvenation, or Reversal of Fortune for harder content) is going to do 95% of what a pure healer can do. Speccing 10 into Protection Prayers for a good condition removal and SoA only costs you 3 points of Divine Favor, which translates into just 10 health per heal.
A pretty nice additional read on energy efficiency I found:
Regarding Energy Efficiency:
- A well placed Prot Spirit can prevent loads of damage, oftentimes much than what you'd get from a Heal Other.
- A Spirit Bond can heal for upto 840 HP, or 420 HP if it triggers just 5 times.
- A Shield of Absorption can negate 100s of points of damage for just 5e.
- Let's say a mostly physical mob of 6 hits your team a total of 30 times in 11 seconds for an average of 40 damage. That's a total of 1200 points of damage. A 11s Aegis would have prevented 600 points of damage for a measly 10e.
If you use your prots wisely, they are far more energy efficient than healing.
Sure, a Dkiss can be extremely energy efficient and can heal for oodles on a heavily enchanted/hexed target, but they're a staple on most hybrid bars.
2 hybrid bars allow for 2 copies of Aegis that can prevent a ton of damage for relatively little energy.
2 hybrid bars allow the monks to take the best skills regardless of the attribute line they belong to.
2 hyrbrid bars allow you to take the best elites for PvE which happen to be healing related, like HBoon, WoH, and LoD (with Mindbender, imo).
2 hybrid bars prevent one monk from being overtaxed against certain types of damage. The pure prot monk will have to work overtime against a spike mob and the pure heal monk will have to work overtime against a pressure/degen mob.
2 hybrid bars allow the monks to save one another better.
2 hybrid bars work much better in HM than pure heal/prot bars.
When exactly is a pure heal/prot setup better?
The small gain in power by going 14 Heal/Prot, 13 DF is not worth the loss of having multiple copies of key skills such as Aegis and Dkiss, as well as access to an elite like WoH, HBoon, or LoD. When you run pure prot/heal monks, you are paying a much huger cost by gimping your bars.
The extra healing gained by the pure heal monk going 14 Heal, 13 DF does not come close to matching the efficiency of having a second copy of Aegis. The pure prot monk running 14 Prot, 13 DF is far less efficient that a hybrid one that has access to Dkiss and WoH.
PvE players have been doing the pure prot/heal thing forever. And frankly, they're the ones who've been blindly sticking to it. It's a relic from the early days of having a tank, a bonder, and a healer for farming groups.
It's a horrible setup in PvE. The most efficient pve monk setup (going by the skills of the average pve pug monk at protting) is for both to go hybrid with HBoon and WoH as elites. Take 2 copies of Aegis. Take 1 copy of prot spirit, mend condition, Shield of Absorption, Dkiss, Heal Party, GoLE, and fill the rest of the bar with heals, sig of rejuvenation, and maybe a hex removal.
3.3 Energy issues: Over the course of a long battle, your energy will slowly dwindle. To mitigate this, monks use energy management. This can either be in the form of skills (channeling, glyph of lesser energy) that directly add energy, skills that heal but don’t cost anything (sig devo, sig rejuv), or a variety of other things. Using the correct prots will also help. Casting prot spirit on a target that never takes damage above 10% of his life is a waste of 10 energy (SoA or SH is better). Casting shielding hands on a target taking 200 damage a blow is ineffective (PS or SB is better). Below are some suggestions I’ve made before.
Not waste energy spamming prot skills
Look at what to prot and who's taking the most damage
Skills like GoLE
Not try to waste too much energy bringing up red bars as a prot monk
Some additional comments about the usage of big prots:
SB and PS are both good in PvP and PvE in their own ways. PS to keep on the infuser during spikes and SB to save spikes. In PvE, SB is good against HM mobs that usually hit for 70-100, and PS is good against HM bosses that destroy you for 300-500 damage.
3.4 Some current builds: I will not deal with region-specific builds in general, since those often have very limited usage. Builds here are common builds that are strong in a lot of areas.
shield of absorption, reversal of fortune, word of healing, glyph of lesser energy
protective spirit or spirit bond
cure hex, dismiss condition, heal party, seed of life, "I am unstoppable", aegis
10+2 healing, 10+1 divine, 11+1 prot (if aegis)
11+2 healing, 10+1 divine, 10+1 prot (if other)
Explanation: Probably the best build IMO. With word on a 40/40 set, you’re not going to need many other heals. RoF is your spot heal against big damage, cure hex is a good heal with hex removal, SoA is for a target getting hit a lot, PS/SB is for big monsters that hit for huge numbers. GoLE keeps your energy going in the middle of a battle, and to power Heal Party/Aegis. Dismiss can be switched out if you want, but it can be useful as a decent heal and condition removal. Seed of life is a crazy party heal prot.
Modifications: Another direct heal (like dwayna's kiss or patient spirit) in regions where there are a lot of touchies (slavers, stygian veil)
Healers boon pure healer:
healer's boon, glyph of lesser energy, heal party
holy haste, ethereal light, signet of rejuvenation, cure hex, protective spirit, shield of absorption, dwayna's kiss
12+2 healing, 12+1 divine (if pure heal)
12+2 healing, 10+1 divine, 8+1 prot (if hybrid HB)
Explanation: This isn’t nearly as useful as the word hybrid, simply because of the lack of prots. You’ll be useless when party bars are near full, but be spamming spells to bring up life bars after it takes damage. No mitigation is the key weakness. However, it provides VERY strong party and single target healing, as well as nice energy management.
light of deliverance, reversal of fortune, dwayna's kiss, glyph of lesser energy, shield of absorption
protective spirit or spirit bond
cure hex, dismiss condition, seed of life, ]"I am unstoppable" aegis
Dwaynas kiss, RoF, LoD, Cure hex, Dismiss condition, Prot spirit, GoLE, Open
12+2 healing, 10+1 divine, 8+1 prot
Explanation: After the LoD nerf, this bar became a lot weaker. However, it is still very good at helping your party stay alive. With proper protting, you shouldn’t be taking massive damage that LoD can’t mop up. The recharge can be nasty, isn’t nearly as bad in PvE with a 40/40 set. I’d go with the word hybrid, but this is still feasible.
4. Heroes and Henchies: A lot of the time, you won’t have friends/guildies on, or if they’re not doing the same thing, or maybe you just want to have some private time with tahlkora and gwen. Whatever the reason, they’re really useful, and choosing the right heroes/henchies will make your life easier.
4.1 Basics. In normal mode, two monks should be enough. In hard mode, you can run with three monks if you don’t have defense. The most important thing is to balance damage and defense, and have a plan for the region you’ll be doing. Remember in between healing/protting, you’ll need to wand the target that you want killed, or else nothing gets done.
4.2 Team build selections: A good build will make a region much easier, especially since heroes will perform very similarly run after run. In normal mode, you can easily make it through with 3 fire eles, you (as the monk), a monk henchie, and 3 more of anything (a warrior-type henchie, a support henchie, and another henchie). I’ll list some popular builds below:
This is basically a cut-down version of the HA Jagged Bones build. You don't need to micro anything, it's pretty much PvE on auto pilot. (used this to vanquish the Jungle by the way, this should work well anywhere else.)
Soul Reaping: 12+1
Soul Reaping: 12+1+1
Restoration Magic: 12
[WoR Necro Healer;OAhiYwh8gtJeSzJ3wccWVTuA]
Death Magic: 12+1+1 or 12+1+3
Soul Reaping: 9+1
Protection Prayers: 9
personally have used different builds such as:
-BHA, Fire hero with ward against melee, SS necro, 3 monks, warrior-type henchie, fire henchie.
-Paragon with watch yourself, SS necro, MM, 2 monks, warrior-type henchie, interrupt henchie, fire henchie.
5. Farming: Monks generally farm solo with either a 55 monk or 600 monk. There are too many builds for too many regions and items, so I’ll direct you to here:
6. Tactics: Just some quotes from before that'll get you through the game and make you a better monk.
Good monks watch the playing field and see who is taking (or will be taking) the most damage, and put a prot like RoF on them. Watching life bars is a sure way to fail, as the target may no longer be under attack by the time you cast RoF, and it'll be obvious by where the enemies/monsters are.
In PvE you pretty much preprot the warriors that are charging in, and then whenever monsters leak through and attack casters, you see who they're going to attack and prot them. Hopefully you don't aggro 4 mobs or else you're pretty much screwed. With careful one group at a time pulling, it should be very easy to see what the monster is going to hit (since monster AI is generally not very smart in switching targets).
In RA/AB where it's for the most part 4 people teams, it's really easy to see the damage source (usually just one physical attacker) and prot the target that's getting hit. Casters will also be pretty easy to prot against. Plus people there tend to like to train one target, so prots are really effective. When you get to GvG, there are generally 2-3 physicals that you have to track, so it's harder, but same applies. At higher levels, physicals learn to switch targets, which makes it even harder than keeping track of more guys when compared to RA/AB. In HA, it's pretty much all channel-spamming, so you pretty much spam prot skills on recharge, and everyone ends up getting protted.
7. Controls: A response.
So I'm not new to GW but made my first Monk a few weeks ago and I'd like to hear your opinions on key binds. What do you think is the best way to set up your binds and stuff so that you can heal as fast as possible and not have to waste time looking for skills and switching targets?
At the moment I just am putting the skills I use most in slots 1-4 and then putting the skills I only use occasionally or in certain circumstances in slots 5-8 and am using my mouse to click red bars and people. Its been working pretty good so far because I can reach numbers 1-5 pretty easily with my hand but I'd like to hear if there are any faster ways of switching between party members and reaching skills.
thx in advance.
I use 1,2,3,4,5,t,f,v for my 8 skills. I either click the person or their red bar to target them.
Generally, in a standard bar, I'll put a small prot (or gift) on 1, RoF on 2, Elite on 3, Hex removal on 4, Condi removal on 5, big prot on 6, and utility skills (guardian, aegis, gole) on 7/8.
For me, 2 and 3 are the fastest buttons to hit (between 1-5), so I want my "oshit" skill and my main skill on those buttons. I can also hit t pretty quickly, so my big prot that'll soak up most of the damage is on there. The rest are just my own preferences.
Final comments: Feel free to post any additional stuff or discussions that’ll be useful. Now is the chance for any questions, clarifications, suggestions, flames, and/or “you suck”s.