Monk Leveling Guide for Diablo Immortal
This guide can be used as a means to help you quickly progress along your journey from level 1 to 60 and beyond as a Monk in the world of Diablo Immortal. Here you will find tips, tricks, and even guidelines for your first build when starting out as this class.
The Leveling Process
The variety and breadth of quests and miscellaneous objectives makes the leveling in Diablo: Immortal a relatively straightforward and pain-free task. Still, you can employ different strategies during this process; most notably, hyper-focusing on efficiency by spamming Story Quests and Dungeons when you hit level requirement story gaps, or taking your time during leveling with additional Zone Events, Lairs and Tasks — a more casual, but far less taxing approach.
Monk Leveling Build
Skills unlock gradually as you level your character. Skills are your primary means to defeating enemies, and their interaction with skill-enhancing or skill-altering Legendary Items are what forms the synergies that define the success of your character. The power of Skills is enhanced by Charms, and the power of Legendary Items can be increased when they are Awakened. The game limits you to the use of five Skills — a Primary Attack and four Active Abilities that have some form of limitation to their use (charges, cooldowns). Primary Attacks are not limited in their use, and charge up an Ultimate bar as they are used. When it is fully charged, you are able to use the Ultimate version of that Primary Attack.
Level 1: Monks receive Fists of Thunder at level one, and it will remain their staple Primary Attack throughout the leveling process; the level 34 unlock, Deadly Reach, is applicable to very niche situations to make sense during questing. Monks also receive Cyclone Strike and Flying Kick from the get-go. Cyclone Strike is an amazing, staple tool of the class — it is used for grouping up monsters for the convenience of your AoE devastation. Flying Kick is a decent early game mobility tool, and the Monks are privileged to have one from the start, but you will replace it down the line with better skills.
- As part of the Battle Pass you can also claim Eye of the Storm while leveling, and it is highly recommended that you do so; this legendary off-hand will increase your Cyclone Strike radius by 20%, and can be further awakened to reduce its cooldown by 10%. Cyclone Strike will accompany you through pretty much all content, so it makes sense to augment it as early as possible.
Level 3: Wave Strike comes into the build as part of your gradual unlocks. The skill's unwieldy mechanics make it a little more than a stepping stone to more universally useful abiltiies — but for the time being, you can use it as a smattering of additional damage into your build.
Level 8: You unlock Seven-Sided Strike; this staple skill of the class is both an AoE and single-target devastator, depending on your needs. On top of its all-around strength, it has the added benefit of making you untargetable — and thus immune to damage — during its animation, enabling a third use case: as a "panic" button against an incoming heavy attack.
Level 15: At this level, you get to improve the mobility of your build by replacing Flying Kick with the much stronger movement tool, Mystic Strike. Mystic Strike's excellent range, reasonable cooldown and triple charges available by default allow you to maneuver around a fight at will to the best possible position. It can serve as an opener in combat, closing the gap to your enemy and pulling them together; it can be used as an emergency dodge from incoming attacks, blinking you well away from danger; and it can be popped to avoid or skip combat altogether, leaving your foes hopelessly behind.
Level 24: Right around this level, you can "complete" your leveling build by introducing Exploding Palm into the mix. It easily replaces the awkward Wave Strike. Exploding Palm is one of the hardest hitting abilities in the Monk's arsenal, synergizing with the strong crowd control and monster pulling options available for the class for powerful, screen-clearing detonations of trash enemies. In order to trigger its detonation effect more quickly and reliably, Exploding Palm greatly benefits from the inclusion of a hard-hitting, instant nuke ability — and you already have one in the face of Seven-Sided Strike. This forms a basic rotation of:
- Pull monsters — either naturally, by running close by, or drawing them in with Cyclone Strike — and build up density;
- Place the Exploding Palm DoT on one of them. Ideally, this will be a lower-health target — so you can ensure it dies while within the 5-second Bleeding effect of Exploding Palm no matter what;
- Finish off the fight with a targeted Seven-Sided Strike on the Bleeding enemy, which will result in a spectacular, room-clearing detonation of Exploding Palms.
Level 29: At this point, you can consider replacing Seven-Sided Strike with Wave Of Light, if you feel like experimenting with alternative means of producing the Exploding Palm detonation. Wave Of Light offers a very straightforward benefit — a massive, hard-hitting nuke in a targeted area, with two charges stored by default.
Level 44: Another point of experimentation can come at that time, as you unlock Mystic Allies — an endgame staple for single-target damage. Either replace you nuke slot or your mobility slot, and get a good feel for the Allies' mechanics. Mystic Allies excel at pummeling down a priority target, making them ideal for protracted single-target fights (of which there are many in this game). Note that you have to contend with pet AI when you plan the fight with your summons, and try to eliminate as many distractions (elite minions, boss adds, etc.) before popping the Allies' cooldown.
Early on, you should focus on trying out the skills that get added to your arsenal, and equipping better gear as it drops (the in-game cue comes from the flashing bag, indicating an upgrade piece). Your gear can be improved at the Blacksmith at a material cost — and while it starts out small, it quickly scales to a hefty amount. Make sure you pick up all items you come across (the auto-pickup option in Settings helps), and salvage them in town.
Upgrading your equipment is a central part of power acquisition in Diablo Immortal; never hesitate to upgrade a piece, regardless of its stats, since its upgrades will carry over to its eventual replacement for free. Upgrading all Primary gear pieces to level 6 before moving forward to level 7 on any of them is advised, since you gain an additional attribute at that level.
During leveling, you will occasionally hit experience walls (accompanied by the message "You must reach level X before continuing.") as you do the Main Story. To quickly get over the Experience hurdle, your most efficient route is to complete Battle Pass activities — namely, repeatedly grinding out Dungeons, with Bestiary turn-ins and Tasks mixed in. To mitigate the amount of time spent grinding, as well as to (likely) enjoy the game more, you can purposefully seek out Hidden Lairs and complete Tasks as they open up during the storyline completion. While this will slow down your questing, it will pay off later down the line as it diminishes some of the grind walls.
Pay extra heed to the Battle Pass tracker, as it unlocks consumable bonuses along the way, as well as a Legendary Item early on in the leveling process. Legendary items are potential gamechangers for every character, so you ensure you pick the one that will benefit you the most.
Legendary items are exceedingly rare gear pieces that provide unique bonuses — enhancing or altering an ability's powers altogether. When you come across one, especially for a slot where you still have Rare or lower tier items equipped, replace it immediately. Legendaries innately roll superior stats to lower tier items. Feel free to experiment with your newfound Legendary and the skill it enhances; once you no longer need it, extract its power at the Essence Transfer NPC in Westmarch. This allows you to overwrite subsequent Legendary items (likely with better stats) in the same slot with the extracted power, retaining the legendary bonus. Extract as many Legendary powers as you can, so you can easily adapt from one build to another whenever you need. Of course, feel free to salvage duplicate Legendary items that you have already extracted.
Some of the best Legendary items to stumble upon while leveling as a Monk are: The First Wind, Discipline's Weight, Path of the Storm, Companion's Melody, Scolding Storm, Eye of the Storm, Breath of Incense, Storm Spirit, Rod of Echoes, Dragon's Indignation, The Open Mind, Crippling Insight. The best Legendary item to choose from the Battle Pass legendaries is Eye of the Storm, since it augments one of your staple endgame utility skills — Cyclone Strike.
Similarly to all Diablo games, gems will make a huge difference to your character in Diablo Immortal — so make a point to hunt down Normal Gems in Hidden Lairs, and Legendary Gems in Elder Rifts (they get a chance to drop if you use a Crest consumable). Additionally, you should follow the quest line to unlock the Helliquary activity as soon as it becomes available at level 41. This is done in order to receive the Scoria currency while doing Bounties.
When you turn in Bestiary pages, you will receive a class-specific consumable. For Monks, this item is the Incense Candle, which increases Magic Find for you and your allies by 5% for 20 minutes. There's no reason to be stingy with its use, especially when you engage in party activities and/or content with potentially valuable rewards, such as dungeons with highly-sought set pieces.
Improving your attributes in Diablo Immortal generally revolves around increasing the total amount of Combat Rating, or CR. Every primary attribute point (Strength, Fortitude, Vitality, Willpower, and Intelligence) grants you 1 point of CR.
The priority attribute for Monks is Strength, which gives +0.3 Damage per point; given otherwise identical options, use the one with higher Strength to increase your DPS. Second in the priority order is Fortitude, which adds to your Armor Penetration — indirectly increasing damage dealt by also improving your crit chance. This attribute suffers from diminishing returns due to crit caps, but is still quite valuable. Third in the priority order is Vitality, which simply increases your Life total; the longer you can stave off death, the better.
Stat priority order and stat benefits for Monks are as follows:
- 1. Strength — Grants +0.3 Damage to Monks, and +1 to your total CR.
- 2. Fortitude — Grants +0.1 Armor Penetration, which affects your crit chance. It also grants +0.1 Armor; Armor increases your Block chance, and blocking attacks mitigates 20% of the damage dealt. More mitigation is never amiss, and even more so when dealing with riskier content like the Helliquary. It also adds +1 to your total CR.
- 3. Vitality — Grants +3 Life; the more you can add to your total health pool, the better. This is especially true for melee classes like the Monk, as they are frequently in the thick of the fight and endure hits head on. This attribute also adds +1 to your total CR.
- 4. Willpower — Grants +0.1 Potency and 0.1 Resistance. Potency increases the duration of harmful effects that you inflict on your foes. Resistance lowers the duration of harmful effects inflicted by your enemies on you. This attribute also adds +1 to your total CR.
- 5. Intelligence — Grants +1 CR. This attribute does nothing else for Monks, and should be avoided as much as possible.
Secondary (Special) Attributes
You should not put an emphasis on Special Attributes when considering between gear pieces. This is due to the overpowering importance of Primary Attributes and your CR total. That being said, the better Special Attributes are the two Crit Stats (Critical Hit Chance and Critical Hit Damage), Cooldown Reduction, Beneficiary Effect Duration, and Movement Speed. You can also consider Increased Damage to Players for PvP gear.
Normal and Legendary Gems
As per tradition for Diablo games, socketed gear allows you to insert beneficial gems according to your needs. In Diablo Immortal, gems are divided between Normal Gems (socketable in Secondary Gear) and Legendary Gems (socketable in Primary Gear).
Normal Gems can only be socketed in Secondary Gear. Normal gems are divided into Red, Blue and Yellow sockets, and their priority is listed below. Priority-wise, gems are decent power increases to your character, but should never come at the cost of Primary Attributes and your CR score. Go for Red and Blue gems over Yellow if possible, as they provide a stronger bonus overall.
- Red Sockets: Prioritize Tourmaline as it provides a straight Damage increase. Ruby is also decent for the Life increase, but only if you lack Tourmalines.
- Blue Sockets: Prioritize Sapphire, which increases your Armor Penetration, and your Critical Hit Chance stat as a result. Note that Crit Chance provided from Sapphires has diminishing returns, capping out at 33%; when benefits from ArPen get too insignificant, swap to Aquamarine. Aquamarine provides Armor, which is a decent source of damage mitigation.
- Yellow Sockets: Prioritize Citrine for the Potency gains, increasing the duration of harmful effects you inflict on enemies; however small its benefits, they trump the Resistance effects provided from Topaz.
Legendary Gems can only be socketed in Primary Gear. They provide unique and very powerful bonuses on top of a robust stack of stat increases. Legendary Gems are found in Elder Rifts enhanced by the Crest consumables, as well as through crafting at the Jeweler in Westmarch.
Early on in Monk character progression, you should use common, 1- and 2-Star Legendary Gems like:
- Fervent Fang — Can be obtained from the Battle Pass, saving you some Crests. Provides a stacking damage increase against a target with successive attacks; great for single target damage.
- Everlasting Torment — For the mere cost of a critical hit, this gem inflicts a considerable DoT and an Attack Speed increase to boot. Even at a low quality, this gem starts off with incredible stats and fits nicely from the get-go.
- Chained Death — This is a great early game gem, especially during farming where you usually pull hordes of enemies to maximize your AoE skills. It amplifies your damage the more enemies you fight, encouraging chaining fights together.
- Lightning Core — Despite its low proc chance, this damage-dealing gem can wipe out entire packs when activated, or focus down a larger foe, making it a decent addition to you legendary gem lineup.
- Power & Command— Since you will frequently interweave Primary Attacks in between popping Ability cooldowns, you will always have some part of the alternating bonuses of this gem going.
- Berserker's Eye — This gem increases damage dealt at the cost of an increase in damage taken. For most of the farming PvE content, this is a reasonable trade-off that you can feasibly mitigate with the Monk's strong sources of shielding.
In summation, efficient leveling is equated to a well-rounded build and knowing which tasks to prioritize at any given time — usually dictated by the storyline quests and the current state of your Battle Pass tracker.
The basis of your damage-dealing combo during leveling will come from the interplay between your pull, Cyclone Strike, and its follow up Exploding Palm (which will begin Bleeding a single monster with a DoT, and prep it up to explode) and Seven-Sided Strike (which will nuke the DoT-ed monster and cause it to detonate across the entire pull). This is a very satisfying combo, and one of the best ones to pull off in Diablo Immortal. Should you need to reposition, use your Mystic Strike charges smartly around the battlefield; the Monk is practically never out of options for mobility and a more tactical approach.
Swap into improved gear on the fly as upgrades come left and right during leveling; the helpful green arrows that indicate increased stats are your best friends. Ensure that your worn pieces are always upgraded at the Blacksmith to the highest level you can afford at the time. Currency spent on upgrading is never wasted.
Don't neglect transferring the essence of Legendaries that you don't need anymore, and only salvage duplicate Legendaries, once you have that particular power extracted.
At level cap, take a good look at your available legendary items, give the Monk Overview guide a thorough read, and make a choice which of our endgame guides you will strive to complete first:
- Monk Seven-Sided Strike Bounties Build
- Monk Inner Sanctuary Dungeon Build
- Monk Mystic Allies Challenge Rift Build
- Monk Cyclone Storm Killer Build for Raids
- Monk Imprisoned Fist PvP Build
- 30 May 2022: Guide created.
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