In the game of DDO (at least as it stands today), I think perhaps the most complicated class to play is the monk. Yesterday, I tried to continue my exploration of this class with my level 10 light monk, Lorrikk.
The reason I think monks are so complicated to play is because they have so many different types of attacks, abilities, and requirements. Monks are primarily melee combatants, however unlike the other melee classes, they have a Ki pool which accumulates and builds up when striking enemy mobs. Monks can then use their Ki to do special attacks that can do various forms of elemental damage and then they can use their Ki to conduct “finishing moves” which are available once a series of special attacks have been completed. The “finishing moves” can either grant buffs to the monk and his fellow party members or they can debuff the mobs the monk are attacking. To make things even more complicated, monks can either specify a dark or light path, which opens up other abilities specific to the path the monk has chosen. Monks also have to remember to stay centered, otherwise they lose some of their abilities as well.
When I first created Lorrikk, he had so many special attacks that I felt he was more like a caster as opposed to a melee character because I was constantly using active abilities like I do my for my spells on my casters. Now, I’m more used to his general special attacks and routinely cycle through them when fighting various mobs. However, I have learned that just cycling through the special attacks isn’t the best idea because you have to do certain special attack sequences to allow for your “finishing moves”. Gathering the attack sequences and remembering the attack sequences for my “finishing moves” has been my most challenging monk aspect for now. Last night I was using a number of “finishing moves” but mainly used the Healing Ki and Dance of Clouds for mini heals and blur effects. I did use some of the other finishing moves as well, but those were the ones I found most useful so far.
My biggest problem with the attack sequences is actually that I tend to kill the mobs before the attack sequence is completed. There is a small cool down timer for special attacks and when I’m facing only two or three mobs at a time, they are generally dead by the time my third attack for the sequence is ready which would then allow/open up the “finishing move” I was working towards. However, if you have the Ki, you can activate the special attack without a mob and even activate a “finishing move” which is what I need to get a better handle on.
The ability for monks to gather these buffs, cast them based on available Ki, generate Ki during attacks, use special attacks to open up these buffs (finishing moves), remembering to stay centered, the use of other abilities and attacks not mentioned that aren’t available to other melees, and the ability to gain other melee oriented feats (such as stunning blow, etc.) makes monks, in my humble opinion, much more complicated to play than other melees. Other melees will generally take special attacks (stunning blow, improved sunder, improved trip, sap, etc..) but these feats don’t rely on Ki generation, you just activate them. Paladins and rangers get a little complicated as well by being able to cast divine spells, however they expend their spell point pool and their spells are generally buffs or cures that don’t require the accumulation of Ki from landed attacks. Also, the sheer number of special attacks is just much more than what is found on other melee’s (although the enhancement lines that have been revamped have created a huge number of special attacks for all classes).
While I feel the monks are much more complicated to play, I think they are much more versatile as well. The monk is definitely an interesting class and I look forward to exploring the abilities Lorrikk will gain as he levels up as a light monk. I will eventually created a dark monk as well, but at the moment I have my hands full .