With the release of Mists of Pandaria in World of Warcraft (WoW) and that of Diablo III (D3) earlier this year, we have to ask ourselves.. which Monk is more badass?
Yes, yes we do have to ask that. Don’t contradict me, padowan.
Most of the focus on Monks in WoW has been on the Pandaren, which combines to make a sort of Kung Fu Panda without the Jack Black voice over. Yawn. Actually, just about any of the races in WoW can be a Monk, so take your pick. Sadly, in this poll on MMO-Champion, it is clear that most equate Monk with Pandas. I personally think Forsaken make cool-looking Monks, lending credence to the whole “Fist of Death and the Zen of Long Life” thing.
In D3, of course, Monks are both a class and a race, so this debate becomes moot. Although the default toon for Monks looks a lot like a bald Italian painter rather than some kind of martial arts Zen master. But hey, it’s a game set in the depths of Hell and in which all the baddies are horrific humanoids with horns and outfits festooned in skulls and stuff. Having a Monk class that looks like Jesuit sort of makes sense. So why nitpick?
At the lower levels, the animations for both games’ Monk classes are pretty boring. They consist mainly of punches, a kick or two, and maybe a blurry-handed flourish. This is pretty much the MMO norm now, I guess.
As you progress, though, the animations and near-magical abilities begin to get a lot more elaborate. Honestly, the anims from Diablo III are way cooler. While WoW has its highlights in this regard (Blackout Kick!), many of the Monk anims that are cool are only on the Pandaren. Which is lame.
In D3, higher-level anims start to get pretty complex with some builds. Sweeping Wind can look pretty cool, for example.
I think most of the “coolness factor” here is mainly an aspect of the build times and game mechanics. Because D3 only has one monk to animate, it’s a lot easier to put a lot of cool anims in there, whereas WoW gives several races (and thus builds) the Monk option and that means more anims for this one class.
Of course, only in WoW can you down a keg as part of your Brewmaster skillset..
How about actual game play then? Which game gives Monks an easier time of it? Not an easy question to answer since WoW is a very different game from D3. Taking them together in terms of soloing, the WoW Monk is much better equipped for generalized game play for the gamer who prefers going it alone. This is more a function of the game’s atmosphere and play than it is the abilities of the class itself.
Diablo 3 is a lot more intense and less forgiving, with bad guys who tend to be a lot more earth-shattering. While solo play is possible in D3, it’s not generally recommended as a primary way of experiencing the game.
While it’s fun to imagine pitting a Pandaren against a D3 Monk, it’s not easily done since the game mechanics for the two games are extremely different. In Mists, for example, there are several rolls for every phase (“turn”) in the battle. Every time a strike is made, rolls for evasion, mitigation, damage, criticals, and more are made. In Diablo III, the mechanics are much more simple, with fewer game engine rolls comprising each part of the battle.
Still, I think for sheer number of skills and coolness of moves, the D3 Monk wins out here. It’s a close call, though, so feel free to fill the comments below with drivel about why you think I’m wrong. I’ll read through them with the same attitude Mitt Romney has for poor people.
This is pretty much a no-brainer, really. Despite all of the love I’ve given Diablo III Monks so far, it’s really the World of Warcraft Monk who’s most fun to play overall. The reasons are simple:
1) Game balance is basically preserved, so Monks aren’t any better or worse than other classes when played correctly.
2) They can truly play all three roles they’re given, so if you spec out to be a Brewmaster (tank), you can actually do that without just ending up being the token raised toon at the end of every battle. Sure, Monks aren’t as good as Paladins and such at this role, but they’re good enough in their own right. The same goes for DPS (Windwalker) and Healing (Mistweaver).
3) First-person views are way cooler than overhead 3D mapping. Sorry, Diablo, but playing in first person (ala WoW) is way more fun.
For those reasons, I prefer Monks in WoW. You’re free to make up your own mind, of course.