Monk Spirit Generation in Diablo 3

Last Updated: Patch v1.0.4

After making my first Monk build, I ran into the problem of how much Spirit generation is needed. Also, how can you compare Spirit generation between different builds? Of course, I could just try out the builds in-game to see if it feels like I have too much Spirit or too little Spirit, but sometimes that will require gearing up for the build. That is both time consuming and expensive.

Spirit generation seems simple because you just get 6-8 Spirit per hit with Primary Skills, but it is much more than that because you need to know your Spirit gain per second to compare between builds. The Spirit gained per second is a function of the base Spirit per hit plus how fast you attack. The other classes seem to have skills that just attack at the same rate as their attack speed, but the Monk Primary Skills do not. Each one has its own attack speed, and it varies per hit.

I did some searching online and found a post from Apples during the Diablo 3 beta on the timings of the Primary Skills:

Fists of Thunder
1st Strike: 1.45
2nd Strike: 1.45
3rd Strike: 1.3

Average: 1.4

Deadly Reach
1st Strike: 1.45
2nd Strike: 1.45
3rd Strike: 0.9

Average: 1.26

Crippling Wave
1st Strike: 1.2
2nd Strike: 1.2
3rd Strike: 1.0

Average: 1.13

Each Primary Skill has it’s own internal attack speed. This is combined with your own attack speed from weapons and attack speed buffs, to get a final attack speed for the skill. Now, Apple’s post was more concerned with the damage output of the skills, but the same math can be done to get the Spirit generation per second.

I don’t know if I completely agree with these values based on testing in the release game. Deadly Reach is definitely slower than Fists of Thunder in the first two hits. It feels around 1.3 down from 1.45. Also, the post did not have Way of the Hundred Fists. I think at the time it was unlocked after level 13 (the level cap during beta), so he was not able to test it. I have guesstimated its speeds based on the other skills. Here is the final, updated list for the live game:

Fists of Thunder
1st Strike: 1.45
2nd Strike: 1.45
3rd Strike: 1.3

Average: 1.4

Deadly Reach
1st Strike: 1.3
2nd Strike: 1.3
3rd Strike: 0.9

Average: 1.17

Crippling Wave
1st Strike: 1.2
2nd Strike: 1.2
3rd Strike: 1.0

Average: 1.13

Way of the Hundred Fists
1st Strike: 1.3
2nd Strike: 1.2
3rd Strike: 1.0

Average: 1.17

Based on this list it’s easy to calculate how much Spirit generation you will get from the Primary Skills. You just take the average speed and multiply it by the Spirit per hit of the skill. The average does not always work, though. If you use more than one Primary Skill and do combos between them, the average over 3 hits will be different. On the other hand, any build that just uses one Primary Skill or does not combo the skills together can rely on the average. The base Spirit gained per second for each skill is as follows:

Fists of Thunder: 8.4
Deadly Reach: 7.02
Crippling Wave: 7.91
Way of the Hundred Fists: 9.36

You can then multiply these numbers by your attack speed, to get your final Spirit gained per second. For example, if I use Fists of Thunder with 1.5 attack speed (shown in your character details), my Spirit gain per second is 8.4 * 1.5 = 12.60. Maybe I switch to Deadly Reach, giving me 7.02 * 1.5 = 10.53. I am losing about 2 Spirit per second.

When planning a build though, I can “solve” this discrepancy in many different ways. One way is to take the Chant of Resonance passive skill, which adds 2 Spirit per second to Mantras. Another way is to use the Strike from Beyond (Spirit gain) rune for Deadly Reach, which is roughly 0.5 Spirit per hit with 5% critical chance. That’s 1.5 * 1.17 = 1.76 Spirit per second, pretty close to 2.

Lastly, I could simply use a faster weapon, 12.60 / 10.53 = 1.2. Improving my weapon speed by 20% will be enough (1.5 * 1.2 = 1.8). I could get to that 1.8 speed with a faster weapon or attack speed bonuses on items. In this case, there are no 1.8 speed weapons, so attack speed on items is the only option.

I don’t just have to use one of these options. I could use Chant of Resonance, take the Strike from Beyond rune for Deadly Reach, and get lots of attack speed on items. Drastic changes like this might be required when switching from dual-wielding fast weapons to a slow two-handed weapon.

In this way I can maintain that “comfortable” feeling, where I have enough Spirit to deal with any situation. Every Monk active skill requires Spirit, and we have no inherent generation like other classes. It is very important to have steady Spirit gain to avoid getting Spirit-starved in critical situations.

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