What is it?
The combination of Priest/Warrior in the Runes of Magic dual class system is called the Battle Monk. Playing it in reverse, Warrior/Priest would be the Warrior Priest similar to the one in Warhammer Online but not nearly as versatile in healing. The Monk is a cousin of the Knight/Priest that many players are associating with the World of Warcraft Paladin. My first choice for a dual class combination in Runes of Magic (ROM) had been to create a Paladin. However, the mana consumption issues combined with poor DPS quickly changed my mind.
Battle Monk (Monk) plays as a cloth wearer whose primary damage is melee DPS while offering healing + very desirable buffs. Ranged damage spells are used sparingly if at all, except to pull and kite. On the Priest side of the equation, damage comes from a single Damage-Over-Time (DOT) spell, Bone Chill. With the Warrior slated into the secondary slot, only its basic skills are available. However, those basic skills are more than enough to get the job done. I typically pull 2 to 3 mobs at a time when completing quests designed for my level. One-on-one I can deal with mobs 5 to 6 levels above me. It’s not easy by any means but doable when necessary. I find the P/W more survivable against high level mobs even in her cloth gear than the W/P in chain mail. The Monk is a very solid soloing class.
The defining attribute for the Monk is the level 15 Elite skill, Battle Monk Stance (BMS). This 30-minute buff boosts the Priest’s Physical Attack and Defense, while reducing healing. Combined with Grace of Life which increases maximum health points, is why we can melee in cloth. Combine these with good armor that has been appropriately enhanced and you have a very hearty combination class.
Advantages vs. Disadvantages
The primary advantage of using the P/W combination is that you have access to the Priest’s full arsenal of skills and abilities, including a max health buff, best Heal-Over-Time (HOT) spell, single target healing, group healing, emergency no mana group heal, damage protection bubble, emergency mitigate all damage spell, damage resist buffs, out of combat resurrection and a single target self-resurrection. These abilities combined, elevate your own survivability to at least a leather wearing class in addition to having great utility and healing.
Your damage isn’t spectacular. You won’t be topping damage charts, beating pure DPS classes or DPS/DPS combinations. Depending on what stats and Talent Points (TP) you’re willing to dedicate toward increasing damage output, at the expense of increased healing and your mana pool, you can do enough damage to easily solo content, including combating elites and off-tanking. And of course, when in doubt of your role within a group you can just H-E-A-L. Your primary advantage is your combination. If you spend your talent points to maximize your combo role, you will not be a great primary healer or tank.
Your biggest disadvantage is that these two classes are very different. They don’t share the same armor type, preferred weapon or stat priorities. You won’t have enough talent points to spec into aggro management abilities for the Warrior. You won’t have nearly enough talent points to adequately enhance all the Priest spells. You have to focus on the vital few while pumping the rest into the talents that make you a MONK!
The permutations and flexibility of class builds in ROM make it hard to set expectations for roles within raid groups, especially PUGs. However, I would avoid showing up as Priest only or Warrior only, as players will assume you’re deeply specialized into those roles. As a Monk you aren’t, unless you decided to gimp the Monk role in deference for one of those primary roles.
As I Monk I am a melee DPS class that can self-heal, heal others and buff. Monk is an offensive + utility class. It’s not the same as a Warrior Priest who would more than likely be acting as a main tank that can self heal. You’re not the same as a Priest/Knight who carries a defensive + utility role that plays out standing in the back with the healers unless she is off-tanking. Priest/Knight is currently considered the BEST end-game healer in the game. And you’re definitely nothing like the Knight/Priest who is essentially a plate wearing tank/off-tank that self-heals. These other combinations while excellent at what they do and superior options for other roles, do not dish out damage unless they’ve gimped themselves in other ways. Whereas the playting the Battle Monk, you can provide good DPS.
There is a great guide on the class forums for building and playing a Monk. I was following that guide which takes a middle of the road approach for playing the Monk. I’ve since tweaked the guidelines to suit my choice of +DPS for solo leveling purposes. My initial dilemma was that even the posted conservative build was decent DPS and decent healing, which was fine but a bit mediocre on both ends. I spent the diamonds needed to respec a few times to test specs with better healing, better tanking and better DPS. The style that suited me best was better DPS. I found myself unwilling to compromise soloing ability and combat speed, for the occasional group role. Depending on group acceptance of the Monk at end-game, I might choose differently later. All players receive a free respect stone at level 30. What follows is the “better damage” version of a Battle Monk.
Critical Skills (maintain at maximum TPs)
For the solo friendly build I run, Battle Monk Stance, Grace of Life, Amplified Attack Brute Strength and Regeneration are the most critical skills. As such, I keep them at maximum TP investment – equal to your level.
Important Skills (maintain at half maximum)
The next set of skills I keep around half my level in TPs. Bone Chill is needed to boost overall DPS and Faith is a passive skill that increases my healing. Since moving to this spec I've acted as main (only healer) in an instance run using nothing but a HOT. I attribute the ability to do that successfully to having recently gotten and spec’d into Faith. At +15 TPs, Faith increases my healing by 20%. That’s nothing to sneeze at.
Tietiary Skills (invest what you can - +10 TP)
My tietiary skills are Wave Armor, Magic Barrier and Heal. If you think that you might try main healing groups then move Heal up into the critical skills while dropping something else to a lower priority. Wave Armor, which doesn’t scale that well past the 20s, would be a candidate to lose TP in deference to the Heal spell. I’ve heard that the resistance spells become more important later in the game. However, I’m not willing to pump TPs into them at this juncture.
My strategy for tackling content is the order in which I prioritize increasing my stats. I care about killing quickly and efficiently, mitigating damage, healing and buffing myself, buffing others and healing others. Killing quickly means that I need to increase the maximum DPS of my Warrior skills since they are my primary form of damage. To be efficient, I need to do decent white damage (no ability use or energy consumption). There are three stats that contribute to these goals: Strength (STR), Physical Damage (PD) and Dexterity (DEX). Unfortunately, with a game in BETA little is known about the underpinnings of the stats to DSP conversions. However, the base stats provide multiple benefits per stat. For example, STA increases defense, maximum health & health generation. For that reason, I prefer to buff the base stats over Physical Attack, Defense and Magical Defense. This leaves me with STR and STA being the most important stats for DPS and mitigation.
Tied into to maximum DPS and efficiency is the use of a Priest DOT, Bone Chill. The damage output of this spell is directly correlated to the number of TPs you invest. If you invest maximum TPs to match your level, the DPS of this spell is wicked – nerf worthy wicked, except that you’re gimped in other areas so I suppose that is the balance. Maintained at maximum, I can run around and grab 5 to 6 mobs my own level, DOT them up with Bone Chill and most will be dead before the reach me. High damage Bone Chill is Priest mob farming pie. I’ve used Bone Chill at both ends of the spectrum - mildly buffed as recommended by the Monk guide on the forums to fully max to see how much damage it would do. In the end, I went considerably buffed but not keeping it at maximum.
Regardless of how you much you buff it, Bone Chill (BC) is a basic spell in your DPS arsenal and unless you’re masochistic, you will be using it on every pull. This means you must have the mana to support using BC in addition to HOTs and buffs. Mana regeneration in ROM is extremely slow without increasing your base Wisdom (WIS). Slow enough that it seems non-existent. As a Priest of any sort, you need mana. Without mana you are pointless. Intellect (INT) will increase base mana pool while WIS will increase the regeneration. This leaves mana as my next priority stat. I’ve found regeneration more important than base pool which makes WIS my third most important stat.
The next tier of priorities for me is damage mitigation. I buff it third because I have class skills that buff my defense and attack power. DEX increases hit change and dodge. Physical Defense increases mitigation. When I solo, I just HOT myself early into each pull. In a group, I shouldn’t have aggro so wouldn’t be taking a lot of damage. All of these things considered my stat priority is STR > STA > WIS > DEX > INT > DEF > Attack.
Battle Monk is a class that will suffer with inferior gear. You don’t have to possess the best gear but you do need to be able to take a beating. You can offset the gear with buff food and by guzzling down potions but that’s not my preferred course. It’s important to find gear that contains the base stats you need for your build. Whenever possible, use gear with rune slots so you can buff it some more. If you find a really nice piece of gear, especially sets, it’s worth considering a RMT enhancement.
With diamonds you can purchase Weapon and Armor Drills that can add an additional rune slot to an item. An item that has no slot can be upgraded to have 1 slot. A 1-slot item can be upgraded to two slots. You can also increase the “power” (Attack Power) rating through the purchase and use of gems.
Soloing is straight forward with the Battle Monk. At maximum distance I pull with Bone Chill. I will usually pull multiple mobs and kite a bit. Cast Regenerate (HOT) or Wave Armor (bubble) and start whacking on one of the mobs to generate Energy. When I’ve built enough I cast Whirlwind which is a melee AOE. Most everything is dead by then. Rinse/repeat by pulling another 3 or so mobs.
If I’m fighting something much higher in level it’s a single pull. I can do +6 levels depending on the mobs class. Six levels higher on a Mage class mob is riskier than something like a Warrior, Rogue or Knight. I’ve had Mage class mobs crit-hit me for half my health. If anything else goes wrong after that I might eat dirt so I stick to only +4 for Mages. If you’re in a risky situation, make sure that you have used Soul Bond on yourself, which is a self-resurrect.
The first thing people want from you in a group are your buffs: Grace (+HP), Amplified Attack (+AP), Magic Barrier (+ Magic Def), Berzerk ( Party +AP w/minus Def) and Defensive Formation (Party + Def w/ minus Offense).
Other than that I’ve only healed in groups so far. Originally spec’d to run as a main healer, I had a hellish experience in Blood Gallery. I’m finding that many of the players have come from other F2P games that don’t have organized raid content. This makes being a tank or a healer difficult. The death penalty piles up enough that dying repeatedly is discouraged. Not wanting to main-heal in the first place I respec’d to be a Monk in a group and not the healer. This has significantly increased my DPS and survivability which makes the levels go by faster. I dropped all TPs out of Heal and Group Heal and put them into Bone Chill and Explosion of Fighting (+main-hand weapon damage). EOF is a nice option if you have the mana to support using it. With a few TPs invested in EOF it gives 110% weapon damage and no cool down.
Since the epic fail in Blood Gallery I acted as main healer for another instance without being spec’d for main healing. I kept the group up with just the Regeneration HOT. We wiped a couple of times in situations where there was no way having only 4 people and no “real” tank could have survived. Other than that it was good. I went along primarily to see another instance and compare the styles. I’ll post about it in a separate article. It was much more organized content that supported the main-tank, off-tank, healer and DPS construct from games like WOW. In fact, it immediately reminded me of Blood Furnace in Outlands. It didn’t look anything like it but the flow was similar.
As someone who’s never played a Warrior and doesn’t have an intention of healing end-game, I’m finding the Priest/Warrior a solid class. It’s one of the top DPS combinations for a Priest and is very fun to play. You have a lot of options for creating your talent build and customizing your stats to fit your style and objectives. If you also enjoy soloing this is definitely one of the combinations you should consider.