I'm currently attempting to work my way through Inferno difficulty with my Monk. Unfortunately, it's extremely slow going. I can take down the regular trash monsters with ease, but any champions or higher tend to eat my face.

I have looked at this question, and that answers the skill questions, but doesn't touch on itemization at all. There is a question about whether I should be using a one-handed weapon or two. There's also a question about whether I should use a shield or not for tanking. My point is, there's a lot of questions about how to play your preferred style. What seems to be missing, though, is what itemization should be preferred, specifically for Inferno difficulty.

I'm currently attempting to focus specifically on a single resist (using One With Everything as a synergy) and life on hit. This tends to let me survive, but now I'm not so balanced towards actually DOING damage.

So, what item modifiers (and a rough idea of how much) should I be looking for to progress through Inferno?

2 Answers 2


My experience is that whenever you feel you are doing not enough damage, you are actually surviving but unsatisfied with killing mobs too slow. The fact is, there is no "too slow" as long as you survive, especially as a monk.

Try to focus on items with physical resistance if you really want to build tanky, while keeping your resistance up. Your weapon should have fast attackspeed to keep spiritgenerating up so you have more options for dealing damage/healing.

The monk is half a caster half a melee character in my opinion so you shouldn't attempt to kill them with just your spirit generators. Try actually spending your resources as soon as they are aviable and your damage will automatically increase.

Also try a good mix of Dex/Vit on items. Resistance against impairing effects is good, as is damage against melee attackers. But both shouldnt be your main focus.

I also tried a full on damaging monk with max dex, life on hit effects and lots of evasion but i found that vitality and armor through shields was missing.

  • Try to focus on items with physical resistance if you really want to build tanky this is bad advice. The fact is, there is no "too slow" as long as you survive This is completely false. If your damage is too low you'll hit elite enrage timers.
    – fcrick
    Commented May 31, 2012 at 17:56
  • damage against melee attackers this stat does NOT scale with your damage, and is essentially useless in Inferno - you should ignore it.
    – fcrick
    Commented May 31, 2012 at 18:09
  • wow, seems like I hit a nerve or something. The fact is, I'm only stating what my experience in inferno taught me. Your elaboration is really interesting but I got through inferno with the melee atacking gear and I did not say focus on damage against melee atackers, just that it is a nice-to-have. Concerning enrage timers... what I tried to tell the poor lad was that a full concentration on damage won't get him anywhere (unless he's a demonhunter in a coordinated player party of 4) and that worrying that you kill monsters too slow shouldn't come first when you get instakilled.
    – Melini
    Commented May 31, 2012 at 21:00

Problems with the accepted answer:

  1. The fact is, there is no "too slow" as long as you survive, especially as a monk. In Inferno, if you do not kill an elite fast enough, after a few minutes a skull and crossbones will appear over your head and theirs, and you will quickly die because it does a lot of damage over time. To progress through Inferno, you need to keep stepping up your damage through each act. Also, surviving isn't actually that important - if you are playing a little beyond your gear, you can still farm reasonably effectively by dying strategically. If you can take one minion or champion down by a third of it's health before you die, you can probably clear the elite pack. Damage one by a third, die, do another third, die, kill them, die. If you're still having trouble, wait in town for 3 minutes and your death timer will reset, and you can repeat this process until the elite pack is dead. Note that this strategy is pretty slow, and you're better off going back to the previous act, but it can be effective for a particularly difficult elite in an area you can otherwise manage well.

  2. Try to focus on items with physical resistance if you really want to build tanky. Physical resistance items are arguably acceptable for other classes, but are specifically bad for Monk. If you want to gear up economically, you need to be using the One with Everything passive, and you should make sure all your single resist are the same. Physical resist is actively sought by other classes, and is hence more expensive, and gives the exact same benefit as every other resist type as a Monk with One with Everything. You should pick Cold, Lightning, or Arcane - these are the cheapest.

  3. Resistance against impairing effects is good, as is damage against melee attackers. Resistance against impairing is good, but damage against melee attackers is useless. Elites in Inferno sometimes have more than 1,000,000 Health (sometimes much more), and even if you had iLvl 63 gear with the highest possible stat of this affix on every item, you'd get about 25,000 damage on hit. Assuming that lvl 61-65 monsters don't reduce this damage at all (very unlikely), an elite would have to hit you 40 times to kill himself. Realistically, even if you try to get this stat on most of your items, you'd have a hard time hitting 5,000 total, and they would take 200 hits to kill themselves. Most fights are over before you are hit even 20 times by single elite. Obviously, it's better than nothing at all, but not by much.

You should have the highest dps weapon you can afford. I find the game is much more fun with higher attack speed, so consider attack speed rings/amulets to make it a speed you like. The dps number on your weapon is extremely important to all damage calculations, and it's worth it to get a weapon with otherwise useless stats if the dps is very high. More damage on your weapon means you can have much more vitality in your gear instead of dex for the same amount of damage.

After that, balance Dex for damage with Vitality and All Resists. If you want to save money, specialize in one resist type, and use the Passive that makes that all resists. Often you can find, say, Dex/Vit/Arcane items priced as if they were Dex/Vit, even when the arcane is 50+, so you can find great deals.

Ideally, you want to do some math to figure out the relative value of different stats offensively and defensively, but here are some rules of thumb just based on my current equipment and the math I've done - these relate to your overall defensive capability, as you can see the Damage stat on your paperdoll. There is no equivalent shown for defense.

  • Strength and Armor are about half as good as Dex for defense.
  • Int is better than Strength or Armor, by about 50%.
  • Vitality is almost 3 times as good as Dex.
  • Resistance is about 7 times as good as Dex, or a little more than twice as good as Vitality.
  • Life Percent increase is the best defensive stat per point, but only comes in very low amounts. It makes an item much better, but usually shouldn't be taken at the expense of another defensive stat.

So, when you evaluate for defense, think about these relative values - they will vary depending on your setup, however, and the math gets pretty complicated.

Other than Dex, consider Crit Chance and Crit Damage. On my gear, just for a frame of reference, these would all add about the same amount to my damage (about %2.4 - I have fairly low crit):

  • %5 Critical Hit Chance
  • 36 Dexterity (improves defense as well, tho)
  • +%50 Critical Damage

Crit Chance and Damage essentially get multiplied together, so the higher both are, the better. In my experience, so far, 36 more Dexterity is far cheaper than %5 Critical Hit Chance - your mileage may vary. A decent rule of thumb might be to treat Crit Damage as half a point of Dexterity, and Crit Chance as 5 points of Dexterity.

Here are some nice formulas (proportions, no percents, lvl 60):

"Bonus" references in increase by a fixed amount
"Multiplier" references increase by a percentage, converted to proportion
You need to add 1 to the sum of multipliers before multiplying, as these
represent an increase.

Base Str/Dex/Int/Vit for Monk is 67/187/67/127

Vit = (127 + VitFromItems) * sum(VitMultipliers)
Life = (276 + Vit * 35) * sum(LifeMultipliers)

Str = (Base + StrFromItems) * sum(StrMultipliers)
Dex = (Base + DexFromItems) * sum(DexMultipliers)

<100     BaseDodgeChance = Dex * 0.001
100-500  BaseDodgeChance = 0.10 + Dex * 0.00025
500-1000 BaseDodgeChance = 0.20 + Dex * 0.0002
>1000    BaseDodgeChance = 0.30 + Dex * 0.0001

multiply in each dodge bonus separately, eg.
Dodge = 1 - (
    (1 - BaseDodgeChance) * 
    (1 - EvasionMantraDodgeMultiplier) * 
    (1 - GuardiansPathDodgeMultiplier)

ArmorBeforeMultiply = ArmorFromItems + Str + OtherArmorBonuses
EffectiveArmor = ArmorBeforeMultiply * sum(ArmorMultipliers)

ResistBeforeMultiply = ResistFromItems + OtherResistBonuses
EffectiveResist = ResistBeforeMultiply * sum(ResistMultipliers)

Int = (Base + IntFromItems) * sum(IntMultipliers)
EffectiveInt = Int + 10 * EffectiveResist

DodgeEffect = 1 - Dodge
ArmorEffect = 1 - 1 / (1 + 50 * EnemyLevel / EffectiveArmor)
IntEffect   = 1 - 1 / (1 + 50 * EnemyLevel / EffectiveInt)

EffectiveHealth = Life / ArmorEffect / IntEffect / DodgeEffect
MonkMeleeEffectiveHealth = EffectiveHealth / 0.70
  • 1
    Where are you getting the numbers from? Why is resistance 7 times as good as Dex?
    – Frank
    Commented May 30, 2012 at 16:47
  • 1
    Those numbers are based on my armor, and calculating the marginal benefit of a additional single point using the formulas I have now added. In general, the more you have of a stat, the better other stats become. Last night I found an item that increases my resistance by nearly 100, and now it's only 6.3 times better.
    – fcrick
    Commented May 30, 2012 at 18:23
  • Great answer, but did you come up with these formulae yourself? If not, can you add a link back to the source and mention what parts are your original research and what parts are from others?
    – user3389
    Commented May 30, 2012 at 18:29
  • These formulas are from different sources, but you can easily confirm them by just putting in the numbers and matching them against the numbers displayed in-game. Effective Health is the exception, but it's simply the application of all the different reductions together.
    – fcrick
    Commented May 30, 2012 at 18:32
  • 2
    @fcrick The reason for my asking is not for whether they are reproducible (I assume they are), but to ensure the information is properly cited: otherwise, this might be considered plagiarism.
    – user3389
    Commented May 30, 2012 at 18:49

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .