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The monk is bad and unfortunately beamdog took the meme literally

lollerslollers Member Posts: 190
Pretty sure nobody meant it unironically when they called monk a late game powerhouse, except maybe in the eary years of baldurs gate. They nerfed the shit out of the class simply on the basis of memes and a long list of minor advantages, and a much shorter list of horrible disadvantages like the inability to use most of the items in the game, the inability to take a beating, the inability to do more than 4 attacks per round. The beastmaster is a crappy archer that manages to be better than the monk in the original BG2, and then beamdog nerfed it more in the EE.


  • lollerslollers Member Posts: 190
    It is definitely weak though, based on this.'s_Gate:_Classes_and_Kits#Monk

    Sorry. That isn't to say it has nothing to contribute though, like the ability to spam stuns and maybe get a quick quivering palm kill. I have wondered what it might be like though if it transformed into the slayer form. I don't know what parts of the base character that the slayer will keep after changing, but I do know that AC is one of them. I think if I can find a way to keep using the slayer which I think is deep into the -20s which is respectable even for the final battle.
  • lollerslollers Member Posts: 190
    edited October 2021
    Yes, I just put the monk to the test and your right that monk-slayer is a bad combination. I found a loophole since I didn't stop with the monk, I also tested it with the swashbuckler. The ability bonuses of that class are inherited by the slayer, as is all the great thief stuff like use any item HLA. I don't know if that is intended or not, but I did test that -30AC as seen on the inventory screen and I confirmed that it didn't lie to me. The monk and other fighter of my custom party, all of which I put at 6,000,000 experience could only hit the swash-slayer on rolls of 20. The swash-slayer also can be improve hasted, so it is actually among the best late game melee things that I can imagine considering all of the slayers natural immunities and resistances. A figurative monster that is as dangerous as it looks, instead of that weak diet-coke version the monk gets stuck with. I was thinking about doing the same test with the dwarven defender and the kensai, but neither of them need it, whereas the swashbuckler is a bad fighter without it. You can extend the trasformation indefinitely just as long as you have those magic damage stopping potions around.
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 7,048
    lollers wrote: »
    It is definitely weak though, based on this.'s_Gate:_Classes_and_Kits#Monk

    Not sure why you conclude that. The wiki says: "They are very weak at low levels, but can become very powerful at the higher levels."

    It's true that, compared to fighter classes, the monk has low HPs. However, that's largely mitigated at high levels by good AC and their high MR (that stops dead most of the magical damage a fighter would worry about). For those occasions where they do need a top up monks can also use warrior potions (like the many potions of heroism scattered through the game).

    At high levels they also move extremely quickly and can hide reliably - and can thus pick off most groups of enemies without danger to themselves. It's less a case of a level 40 monk requiring baby-sitting by other members of a party than of being handicapped by them ...
  • suysuy Member Posts: 22
    lollers wrote: »
    Pretty sure nobody meant it unironically when they called monk a late game powerhouse, except maybe in the eary years of baldurs gate. They nerfed the shit out of the class simply on the basis of memes and a long list of minor advantages, and a much shorter list of horrible disadvantages like the inability to use most of the items in the game, the inability to take a beating, the inability to do more than 4 attacks per round. The beastmaster is a crappy archer that manages to be better than the monk in the original BG2, and then beamdog nerfed it more in the EE.

    Where did Beamdog did any change to the original BG2 to make Monks worse? If anything, the items in Rasaad's quest (which are Beamdog's additions) help tremendously because now they can spam Mirror Image even being a Sun Soul or plain Monk (ring of duplication).

    What you don't understand is that not everyone plays the game learning to min max from experienced players. Some people experience the game saying "my Monk is better than anyone, because they can get 4 APR, while Minsc/Keldorn/Mr ToB are limited to 2.5/3 (add 0.5 if using the gauntlets), and their weapon deals less damage".

    Sure, maybe you and I know about dual wielding Belm and about Improved Haste. But guess what? People who are perfectly happy with the game don't, and they beat it easily with a Monk protagonist blasting all the enemies.

    This is not to say that the class is perfect. None are. But the expectations and needs of every person are different. I myself would like all the classes to be balanced, and have a power curve that is as close to a steady slope as possible (and I want of all the classes). Maybe if I had that I would find it boring and I would prefer some bumps, I don't know. But certainly not all people want that.

    Personally, I'm learning as much as I can from the engine, and I'm testing a few ideas to make the class a very good melee character that is still different from the others (more vulnerable). I don't like the BG1 experience, specially on the lower levels, and I'm not thrilled that it becomes so good in SoA to then have issues again on ToB. But that's on MY play style, which is with SCS on Insane and Item Randomizer, but without double damage. I'm not so pedantic to conclude that my redesign is needed or desired for anyone else.
  • NeverusedNeverused Member Posts: 789
    The problem with Monk is mostly in its defenses - its offenses are legitimately fine, with Stunning Blow capable of ending several encounters with proper set up (stunning mages or thieves tend to make fights significantly easier). Other pros have been mentioned in needing relatively low amounts of gear or buffs to be effective.

    Thing is, it suffers from the same problem that I feel Swashbuckler has, and that it wants to be in melee for maximum damage output with very little ability to take the damage you need as a frontline. A d8 hitdie and only +2 instead of +4/+5 from the CON modifier leaves you ~30 HP down from one of the other Warriors by level 9. That and no Critical Hit Immunity (probably the nerf that was talked about) means that hits that might be spongable with a Fighter are significantly less safe for a Monk, and Critical Backstabs are death sentences with no easy way to negate them with either high HP pools or Stone/Iron Skins. Gotta hope the rest of your party has True Seeing...

    Now, Monks still do really well vs Spellcasters, even without prepping too much for them: 78% MR by lategame means you can just ignored 3/4 of their spells without any further investment. With proper investment, it's a legitimate strategy to stand in front of a mage and get them to waste spells on you while either running around waiting for certain weapon immunity spells to wear off, or punching them in their faces until they die. Unfortunately, they do horrifically in melee with other fights like the Fire Giant Temple in the lategame, Trolls and Golems in the midgame, and Iron Throne Bandits and Doppelgangers in the early game.

    To me, Monks work best as a 6th member of the party, separate from the warriors and sometimes clerics that make up the front line. They take quite a bit of micromanagement to play successfully, moreso than almost any other class than possibly Swashbuckler, because you absolutely don't want to take hits in melee. But they can work, just with very little tolerance for error.
  • masteralephmasteraleph Member Posts: 194
    I think in general that the skirmisher role suffers in party play- F/T and even F/M/T being something of an exception because of how well they can dish it out (enemy-exploding backstabs) early on and then have enough defenses that they can take it pretty well too.

    Staff of the Magi often gets discussed for high level X/Thieves as a way to get around the corner to backstab again, but it's probably worth remembering for X/Thieves in parties as a way to add/drop aggression from enemies after an initial backstab.
  • sarevok57sarevok57 Member Posts: 5,875
    also the thing to remember is that in the original BG, monks weren't a class, monks were not introduced until BG ( similar with barbarians and sorcerers )

    hence the reason why i believe BD had to add some monk kits for bg1 because for inexperienced players, they were going to have a rough time with a monk especially if their physical ability scores were mediocre ( kind of like rasaad )

    in bg1, rasaad can be a bit difficult to use in bg1 with inexperienced players, ( those lower stats really hurt him in bg1 - look at valygar for example, a human with 18 DEX, and i believe the reason why that is the scenario is because he can't wear heavy armor, if he had DEX around 15 or 16, i bet most players back in the day wouldn't have given him the light of day, because he would really struggle to get good AC in melee, and plus there is only 1 pair of gauntlets of DEX, so you can't have everyone on the front line with garbage DEX- ) while in bg2 you start a bit higher level so his monk abilities start off a bit better

    for bg1 having 18 STR, 18 DEX, and perhaps even 18 CON ( for the claw of kazgaroth ) is almost mandatory if you want to use a monk in melee

    but for bg2, not as much since you start off at such higher levels
  • StummvonBordwehrStummvonBordwehr Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 1,038
    A monk was actually my first charname to finish the game.

    It was in a BGT game, so it had the ease of the BG1 tomes and some experience boost from some mods. I played with the level cap off, so it helped a bit.

    I actually didn’t think I would win the game. But somehow I had enough potions and GWW to get Mel in the back. I was absolutely stunned to see charname win, since my prior runs with “great” characters had failed. The monk is tougher than it might seem at first hand.

    The main difference between then and now, would in my opinion be that the ioun stones no longer protects against critical hits. It was a huge help back then.
  • AmmarAmmar Member Posts: 1,291
    I think the "relative" weakness of monks in BG2 is due to two things: immunity to haste effects (specifically improved haste) and how insanely powerful some of the weapons you get are.
  • DinoDinDinoDin Member Posts: 1,458
    Monks have a big problem in BG1 because of that increased movement speed, especially Rasaad with his weak stats. It just requires a lot more tedious clicking on the part of the player to manage a party like that. As opposed to using a more typical tank with the same speed. We can see that later generation RPG's did actually address this with many of them having different combat/non combat walk speeds. A huge problem for Rasaad given when you typically pick him up.

    That being said, I have to completely disagree with your analysis on BG2. Even at the start of BG2, I feel like you have enough stealth points to consistently drop into the shadows, transforming the movement speed from a hassle to an enormous advantage. Couple that with all the monk's special abilities, and it's not even close. One of the best warrior classes you can choose for SoA and ToB.

    I do find the monk kind of dull in a playthrough as you're not improving them as consistently as any other party member, due to the limited item selection.
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