The more formal name for this build is the “The Wave of Light Monk”, but everyone just calls it the bell monk because Wave of Light hits monsters with a giant Bonshō (Buddhist temple bell) for massive damage. In reality, this build is just a variation on the Sweeping Wind build, sacrificing a more defensive skill for this massive damage skill. Wave of Light is not a cheap skill though, so you will need some Spirit regeneration to compensate.
- A near max DPS build
- Single damage numbers over a million from Monk bells
- A little more unique compared to the cookie cutter Monk build
- High gearing requirements make it harder for new level 60s to use it effectively
- High damage numbers can be huge overkill on weak monsters.
Mouse Left Click – Fists of Thunder (Quickening)
Fists of Thunder has the fastest base attack speed. That makes it the best Spirit generator, and this build demands a lot more Spirit than most builds. The Quickening rune makes it even better. Every critical hit with Fists of Thunder gives 15 Spirit. With 25% critical hit chance and 2.5 attack speed, this skill can potentially give you 24 Spirit per second.
Mouse Right Click – Wave of Light (Empowered Wave)
You can use it to clear large groups of weak monsters, but it is generally best to save for Elite packs. Prioritize spamming Mantra of Conviction over Wave of Light. That passive damage buff is just too much to give up for Wave of Light. This just means to only use Wave of Light when you have 90 Spirit remaining (40 Wave of Light + 50 Mantra of Conviction).
With just the 24 Spirit per second from Fists of Thunder and Quickening, you can use Wave of Light every 6 seconds, in addition to spamming Mantra of Conviction every 3 seconds. You can use it more often if you equip items with Spirit regeneration or use Spirit regeneration passive skills. See the Good Stats section below for more information.
Keyboard 1 – Sweeping Wind (Cyclone)
Sweeping Wind is the bread and butter Area of Effect skill for the Monk. Everyone uses it at max level. It’s a fun spectacle to watch, but not much fun to use. It is basically just a buff you have to use every so often. Make sure to use it at the beginning of every battle. Try to keep it up between battles by quickly moving from monster pack to monster pack. No dawdling. Save Spirit as needed if you know you will need to refresh it soon.
Keyboard 2 – Breath of Heaven (Blazing Wrath)
This is just a buff skill. The Blazing Wrath rune adds 15% damage to all attacks for 45 seconds. Use the healing part of the skill as needed. Just remember to keep Blazing Wrath up. This may mean wasting the heal, but the buff is more important. When the Blazing Wrath buff is expiring soon, save a little spirit to refresh it.
Keyboard 3 – Mantra of Conviction (Overawe)
Aside from Wave of Light, Mantra of Conviction is the main damage spell for the build. If you recast it every 3 seconds, you can have a permanent 24% damage bonus to all attacks. This is such a big bonus it’s even more important than Wave of Light. Always prioritize Mantra of Conviction over Wave of Light.
Keyboard 4 – Serenity (Ascension)
Serenity is a great skill to pair with Wave of Light. It lets you stand in melee for a long time so all the monsters crowd around, then cast Wave of Light to hit the maximum number of monsters at once. You will get a lot of Mighty Blow callouts.
Passive 1 – Resolve
Sweeping Wind will ensure this debuff is on nearby monsters all the time. It reduces the damage you take, making it easier to position yourself to do the most damage with Wave of Light and Sweeping Wind. This damage reduction functions similar to Resist All because it applies to all incoming damage, but it has no diminishing returns like Resist All does.
Passive 2 – Seize the Initiative
This is the passive skill that increases Armor. Armor reduces Physical damage, which applies to melee attacks and ranged attacks like arrows. Most ranged attacks do Elemental damage though. Still, most character damage comes from Physical attacks, and they can’t be avoided like most Elemental attacks can.
Passive 3 – One With Everything
One With Everything increases your defenses against both Physical and Elemental attacks, making it the best defensive passive skill in the game. However, it requires a lot of time and gold to get the right items. Ultimately allows you to double the maximum Resist All you can get on each Armor item. For example, if you stack Fire Resist (make it your highest resist) on all your items in addition to Resist All, One With Everything will add the Fire Resist onto your Resist All stat. You will still maintain the Fire Resist, but your Resist All is now doubled.
The normal Sweeping Wind build works with any weapon type, but the Spirit generation needs of Wave of Light requires that you have a fast attack speed. That means dual-wielding two weapons is best. Go with a Mace or Spear for the mainhand and a Sword or Fist Weapon for the offhand. Both Sweeping Wind and Wave of Light both calculate damage solely based on the mainhand, so a higher base damage weapon will give you more damage overall.
While only 15% critical hit chance is needed for Sweeping Wind, you should have at least 25% critical hit chance for the Fists of Thunder Quickening rune. Spirit normally doesn’t regenerate but certain item types can roll a Monk only affix that gives Spirit regeneration. One of the alternatives below involves using a passive skill for Spirit regeneration for characters with lower critical hit chance. Around 8.0 Spirit regeneration allows you to use Wave of Light every 3 seconds, the same rate that you use Mantra of Conviction. Also, some attack speed bonuses are nice, with 2.5 attacks per second being good number. For general gearing that applies to all characters, check out The Stats You Want in Diablo 3, my quick guide to stats that all characters should have.
- Fists of Thunder (Thunderclap) instead of Fists of Thunder (Quickening) – If you have a lot of passive Spirit regeneration from your items, you won’t need the extra Spirit that Quickening provides. Around 8.0 Spirit regeneration with a fast attack speed should be enough to achieve this. In this case, replace Quickening for the higher damage Thunderclap rune.
- Chant of Resonance instead of Seize the Initiative – If you only have 15% critical hit chance, you can use Chant of Resonance to regenerate some Spirit. You can also bring the Templar follower with you everywhere for his passive Spirit regen bonus. You should pair these options with a few items that have Spirit regeneration to bring your total to around 8.0 Spirit per second.
- Mantra of Evasion (Hard Target) instead of Mantra of Conviction (Overawe) – Mantra of Conviction is the primary way to increase DPS in this build. New Monks still gearing up might need more defenses though. The Hard Target rune of Mantra of Evasion is one of the best defensive runes.
- Fleet Footed instead of Resolve – If you have good enough defenses, you can replace Resolve with Fleet Footed for a faster farming rate. This is most commonly used to farm lower Monster Power levels when you have good gear. You might farm Monster Power 10 for good loot, but switch to Monster Power 6 with Fleet Footed for faster experience point gains per hour.