This is something that a lot of people have been asking for. I figured I’d start with level 30, because normal mode is quite easy and it’s really a time for you to learn your character and try new things. Which I would still advocate continuing on, but thought I’d put together some nice builds and tips to help you get through nightmare and hell modes on your monk.
You’re just starting off in nightmare and things should still be fairly easy. This is the part of the game where kiting starts becoming necessary. Don’t hesitate to pop potions and cooldowns, and run away often to let your cooldowns and potions recharge.
Recommended build: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/monk#UZdgjh!YXc!abZaaa
The build is designed to let you spam lashing tail kick, which does great damage and also interrupts/knocks back enemies. Way of the hundred fists also performs a knockback, so between the two mobs shouldn’t hit you very often. Use dashing strike to close in with enemies, chase down runners, close in with casters, and keep up with treasure demons.
The mantra and passives are up to you really. If you have trouble surviving take mantra of healing. Passives transcendence is pretty necessary but other then that play around with your other two. Now is the time to play around and see what skills work best for you.
Weapons – just get the highest DPS weapon you can find. Get lifesteal or attack speed if you can find it on a weapon for a decent price.
Don’t waste money crafting till 60. You can find much better stuff for way cheaper on the auction house. Buy rings and amulets with attack speed %. Look for items with mostly dexterity. Get a few pieces with vitality if you’re dying a lot. Look for lifesteal on weapons. +life on hit is also a good stat. +crit chance on gloves and weapons are great. Don’t worry about resists at this level.
Your goal is just to blaze through the quests/acts as fast as you can. Don’t worry about exploring the whole map or every little cave you come across. You’ll get more xp by finishing the main story quests than anything else. But remember this is a game and you’re trying to have FUN! So don’t lose sight of having fun when you’re trying to power through the levels
Don’t be afraid to blow those CDs(cooldowns). Coming from a WoW background I thought CDs were meant to be saved for emergencies and thus hardly ever used my defensive ones. Get that outta your head! D3 is all about blowing CDs and managing CD timers. Use CDs proactively, pop your serenity when you’re about to get hit by a laser beam or when you’re standing in fire.
Things are probably getting a little tougher. Just keep at it and hammering the levels out.
Recommended Build: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/monk#bZdgiQ!YXc!bbZaZ
This build is designed to let you spam wave of light, which is a great DPS spirit skill. Activate sweeping wind at the beginning of each fight, it is AMAZING dps. Again use dashing strike to close in with runners, casters, treasure demons, you can also use it to stun enemies that are charging up for a big attack. Mantra of healing mixed with transcendence should be plenty of keep you alive during fights.
Passives again are up to you. The guardian’s path is really good if you’re dual wielding or using a 2hander.
Weapons – again get the highest DPS weapons you can find. Attack speed, lifesteal, and life on hit are all great stats.
Stack all dex again unless you’re having difficulty surviving. Then get a few pieces of gear with vitality. Rings/amulets with %attack speed are great and the easiest/fastest way to massively up your DPS. 15% increase to your attack speed is a flat 15% increase to your DPS(makes sense, if you’re attacking 15% faster, you’re doing 15% more DPS). +life on hit, +crit are still both good secondary stats.
I wouldn’t spend anymore than 10k on an item in the auction house. Save your money. Only upgrade the pieces of gear that REALLY need upgrading. You’ll go through the levels so quickly it’s not really worth paying much for stuff in the auction house right now. Vendor all the items you find that aren’t worth selling rather than melting them at the blacksmith, the mats you get at this level are worthless because the things you craft are pretty worthless, so it’s better to get gold from the vendor.
Again just blaze through the quests ASAP, don’t worry too much about exploring everything.
Start learning to kite. Run away, hold stand to attack(shift) hit the mobs a few times, run away again. This skillset will become invaluable to surviving Inferno.
Keep at it, you’re 2/3rds of the way there!
Recommended build: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/monk#WZdgik!YdX!bYZaZa
This build is designed to help you maximize your DPS while at the same time giving you enough survivability to make it through the harder difficulty levels of nightmare.
Crippling wave is a really great offensive/defensive ability rolled together. If you find you’re dying often switch out the rune to the one that reduces enemy damage by 20%. Otherwise the increased DPS is great, especially since crippling wave is a real quick AOE attack. Lashing tail kick with the stun rune is AMAZING for surviving large packs. This is your spirit dump and during a fight most of your spirit should be spent spamming lashing tail kick. Between the heals from transcendence and the stun portion of the kick you really should have no trouble staying alive.
Sweeping wind is a staple of my builds just because it’s such great passive set it and forget it AOE DPS. Serenity and breath of heaven are both great to help keep you alive, as you get into harder acts in nightmare having two defensive abilities might be necessary. If not I’d recommend switching out one for a more offensively oriented ability. 7 sided strike or your mystic ally are both great choices.
Mantra of conviction is an AMAZING boost to DPS, and if you find you have extra spirit just hit it a few times. 48% increased damage for 3 seconds after you cast it can make you melt through mobs.
Passives again are more up to you. Pick and choose to see what you like the best.
Same ole same ole. Pick the highest DPS weapon be it 1hand or 2hand. Look for items with primarily dex. Pick up vitality where you can but at 40 you can still get away with mostly stacking dex. +attack speed, lifesteal, +life per hit are all great stats for weapons. +critical hit chance, +attack speed % are awesome on your gloves, rings, and amulets.
Again remember don’t spend too much gold on the auction house. You should be slowly saving up so that when you hit 60 you can pick up a few really nice pieces of gear to help you progress through Act 1 Inferno. I would only buy upgrades off the AH if I find I’m struggling through portions of acts. If you’re blazing through no problems don’t even worry about buying upgrades.
Again just want to reiterate the importance of not wasting money. You can spend 100k now to get a 150dps weapon or save that 100k and buy a 700 DPS weapon when you hit 60. Choice is up to you, but, I’d recommend saving money.
Not much to write here. Pretty straight forward. Do quests. Level up. Enjoy the scenery
You can find more high level builds here in my monk builds section.