Friday, October 21, 2011

Blizzcon Monk Impressions and Concerns

The monk seems like it's going to be a very compelling class to play. It's a hybrid tank/healer/DPS class with a unique resource system. My current understanding of its function is that it doesn't have an autoattack. Certain moves generate Light Force or Dark Force. This is then used to use special abilities. The concept, even for healing, is that you'll be in melee range and doing damage.

I'm really not sure how this is going to work for healing. Targeting seems like it will be an issue because you'll have to target an enemy to stack force up and target a player to use your heals. You'll have to be in melee range which is very problematic if you have to run to switch targets. This could be easily fixed by having basic heals that still operate at range and give force.

There is one problem that can't be fixed by that change though. A big mechanic for healers is mana management. Healers can spend large amounts of mana to get lots of healing done quickly and they can spend very small amounts of healing in low stress situations. The current operating description of the monk's abilities implies that he has no mana, even when healing, so he can't choose to go heavy or light on the heals. He'll just have a baseline level of healing and have to deal with it.

The ability to manage one's mana is something that really distinguishes healers of different skill. And the threat of running out of mana because a fight is too hard is a way that Blizzard balances healers and fights. If they don't run the risk of running out of resources, the other healers will either have to stop worrying about mana or the monk will have to be weaker than the other healers. Both of these solutions would never really work for World of Warcraft.

I'm very excited for the monk, I want to make a tank and Sarah wants to make a healer. I think that the monk, at least for healing, is going to have to have mana as a resource. At least to back up the Light/Dark Force system. It's a good thing we have betas.

Update: The class Q&A panel updated us that the Monk will have mana and Light/Dark force when healing.