|| Note: This is a user's guide to playing a monk in Guild Wars. It's meant to introduce new players into playing a monk, help them design their builds and manage their team's health. If you find any spelling mistakes or grammatically wrong sentences, please feel free to edit this guide. Thank you!
Basics about a Monk
A monk starts, like all other classes, with 480 health, 20 energy and 2 pips. After equiping an armor, a monk gets additional 10 energy, 2 pips and 60 armor.
A Monk has 4 different Attributes
The Monks duties
A monk is somehow a all-round character, which main purpose is to keep his party alive. It's important to highlight that a monks purpose is not to keep a partys health at its maximum. A monk only has to prevent that anyone passes away. Therefor you have to identify which party member holds the most aggro, so that you can heal/prot him according to this. As a beginner it might be hard to find out who is going to be the target of your enemies. It is important that you do not just look at the health bars, but also on the movement of your enemies. At the end of this paragraph I want to clear out the mis belief, which says that monks should be able to res during a battle. It's not a mistake to equip a hard res, but keep in mind that you should never ever res during a battle, because this will cost you too much energy.
Skills - Which one should I equip?
If you begin playing a monk, you will think about which skills are the best, which is the best skill combo,...
There are hundreds of skills, buy you can only choose 8 of them. But which one to choose?
The answer is quite disillusioning, because there are no "best skills", or "best skill combinations" in Guild Wars!
In fact you have to create many different skill combinations (aka templates depending on your situation.
Your party is doing a quest in an area where the enemies deal different conditions. Because of that you have to create a new template which fits to this situation.
And now lets take a look at the different skills.
The first elite skill is Blessed Light. It offers healing, condition- and hex remove at the same time. It costs 10 energy, has a casting time of 3/4 seconds and a recast time of 3 seconds.
The second one is Divert Hexes. It removes up to 3 hexes and heals for each removed hex. This skill also removes a condition for each removed hex. It also costs 10 energy, has a casting time of 1 second and a recast of 5 seconds.
The third one is Restore Condition (aka RC). This Spell removes ALL conditions from target ally and heals for each removed condition.
It costs 5 energy, has a cast time of 3/4 seconds and a recast of 2 seconds.
Important Note: You cannot cast RC on yourself!
As you can see I am comparing the skills not just by its effects, but also by its cast/recast time and its cost.
You see 3 different Elite Skills which all have different effects.
Blessed Light heals for a specific amount and removes a hex and a condition. This makes Blessed Light a "all-purpose Skill".
But if you are confronted with only Hexes or only Conditions in masses you will soon reach your energy limit. In such situations Restore Conditions or Divert Hexes would be a better choice.
Which one should I use?
If you know that you are confronted with hexes, you should choose Divert Hexes. If you are confronted with conditions you should choose RC. And If you do not really which damage type you are confronted with, Blessed Light can be the right choice.
Note: If you have chosen RC, you have to consider that you cannot remove conditions from yourself.
Because of that you should take an additional condition remove like Mending Touch for yourself.
More Condition Remove
vs. vs. vs. vs. vs. vs.
- Mend Condition: costs 5 energy, 3/4 sec. to cast, 2 sec. recast
- Mend Ailment: costs 5 energy, 3/4 sec. to cast, 5 sec. recast
- Dismiss Condition: costs 5 energy, 3/4 sec. to cast, 3 sec. recast
- Mending Touch: costs 5 energy, 3/4 sec. to cast, 6 sec. recast
- Spotless Soul: costs 5 energy, 1/4 sec. to cast, 12 sec. recast
- Smite Condition: costs 5 energy, 1 sec. to cast, 7 sec. recast
- Purge Signet: 2 sec. to cast, 20 sec. recast
If you think that you are confronted with only a little amount of conditions, you might not use Restore Conditions, but one of the skills above, so that you can choose another elite skill that would fit better to your situation.
Mending touch has somehow the same effect as RC (with only 2 removed conditions), but I would not recommend you to use it, because you have to touch target ally to fulfill the skill requirements. I personally would only recommend this skill in combination with RC.
RC only removes conditions from other allies, so Mending Touch can be used to remove conditions from yourself.
The recast time of mend condition sounds pretty good, only 2 seconds. But if you take a closer look at the skill you will find out that you can only remove conditions from other allies. That means if you choose this skill you will need an additional condition remove for yourself. In contrast to Mend Condition, Mend Ailment and Dismiss Condition can be casted on yourself. Both of them have conditional healing. Mend Ailment Heals for each remaining condition and Dismiss condition Heals if your target was under the effect of an enchantment. I would recommend you to use Dismiss Condition if your party uses enchantments (like aegis,...). Mend Ailment is (in my opinion) only useful if your party splits up and your split does not use any enchantments.
The last 2 Skills mentioned above are Spotless Soul and Smite Condition. These are the only condition removes (from the monk), which are not based on the Protection Prayers attribute. Smite Condition is very usefull if you choose to play a smiter, because it removes a condition and deals damage to all foes in the area. It also heals for a little amount because of the Divine Favor attribute. This skill is also very good in combination with .
And last but not least, Spotless Soul, the only condition remove on the Healing Prayers attributeline. It is an enchantment that automatically removes an condition on target ally every 3 seconds until the enchantment ends. The disadvantage is that you cannot use this skill on yourself and it does not offer any additional healing.
The skill Purge Signet will be covered in the More Hex Remove section.
I think it is very important to highlight that every monk should have a condition remove equipped, even if you only use Healing Prayers, because removing a deep wound is better than wasting an expansive Skill to keep your teammate alive.
My personal recommendation is Dismiss Condition, because it offers an acceptable healing output and has a low recast time.
More Hex Remove
vs vs vs vs vs vs vs vs
- Remove Hex: costs 5 energy, 1 sec. to cast, 8 sec. recast
- Holy Veil: costs 5 energy, 1 sec. to cast, 12 sec. recast, -1 upkeep
- Cure Hex: costs 5 energy, 1 sec. to cast, 12 sec. recast
- Reverse Hex: costs 10 energy, 1/4 sec. to cast, 10 sec. recast
- Smite Hex: costs 5 energy, 1 sec. to cast, 12 sec. recast
- Spotless Mind: costs 5 energy, 1/4 sec. to cast, 12 sec. recast
- Purge Signet: 2 sec. to cast, 20 sec. recast
- Deny Hexes: costs 5 energy, 1 sec. to cast, 12 sec. recast
- Convert Hexes: costs 15 energy, 1 sec. to cast, 12 sec. recast
At first, let us take a look on Remove Hex, Holy Veil, Smite Hex and Spotless Mind. All four of them do not have any special effect worth mentioning(except Smite Hex, because it deals extra damage).
The main difference between those 4 is the recast time, the cast time and the usage. With Remove Hex you can remove a hex all 8 seconds, to the price of 5 energy. Same goes for Smite Hex, except that you can only use it all 12 seconds.
Spotless mind works similar to Spotless Soul, which means it is an enchantment and removes a hex every 5 seconds and it cannot be applied onto yourself.
In contrast to the three skills above, Holy Veil is more special. It is an enchantment which you have to keep up on your target. Which means you cast in onto your target and than remove it manually. But it is worht the effort, because it has the nice effect that hexes take twice as long to be applied onto the target of this spell. Additionally you can keep this spell up until you/your ally is under the effect of a special hex (like migraine, shame, diversion,...) and than remove exactly this hex.
Now lets take a look on Convet Hexes. Convert Hexes has a really nice effect, but the costs are too high for a monk. Because of the High costs this skill is usually used by primary Elementalists or Necromancers to support the party.
Ok, the next one is Reverse Hex. The skill is quite expensive, but the recast time is not that bad. The side effect of this skill is to reduce the next damage your ally receives. Many Monk players have a different opinion about this skill. I personally think it is to expensive for removing just one Hex and the recast is to high to efficiently prevent damage.
Purge Signet removes all conditions an all Hexes from target ally. The disadvantage is that you lose 10 energy for each removed hex and condition. Because of the high "hidden costs" of this skill you should only use it with a Low-energy-set (will be covered later on). This skill is also very useful at primary warrior with mostly adrenaline skills.
At the end of this section let us take a look on Deny Hexes and Cure Hex. Cure Hex is a pretty good Hex remove based on the Healing Prayers attribute line. It cost only 5 energy and you can remove a Hex all 12 seconds. Every time you remove a Hex you heal for an additional 114 health (Healing Prayers on 14). In contrast to all the hex removes mentioned above, Deny Hexes is the most interesting one. It also costs 5 energy, needs 1 second to cast and can be re casted after 12 seconds. But it has a nice side effect. You remove one hex for each recharging Divine Favor Spell. Note that it counts itself as recharging skill. This skill also works well with spells like Divine Spirit or Divine Intervention.
My personal recommendation is to use Holy Veil or if you use some Divine Favor skills (Divine Spirit, Signet of Deovtation,...) to equip Deny Hexes.
Skills I can heal with
vs. vs. vs. vs. vs.
- Glimmer of Light: costs 5 energy, 1/4 sec. casting time, 1 sec. recast
- Light of Deliverance(LoD): Heals the whole party. costs 5 energy, 2 sec. casting time, 5 sec. recast
- Word of Healing(WoH): Probably the most famous monk skill in PvE. costs 5 energy, 3/4 sec. casting, 3 sec. recast
- Healing Light: Bonus Energy if target is under an enchantment. costs 5 energy, 1 sec. casting, 4 sec. recast
- Zealous Benediction: You get energy if target is below 50%. costs 10 energy, 3/4 sec. casting, 4 sec. recast
- Healer's Boon: cots 5 energy, 1/4 sec. casting, 10 sec. recast
If you look at the Healing output, LoD & WoH are probably the best choice. With WoH you can heal a single target for more than 200 health (depending on Healing Prayers). With LoD in contrast you can Heal each party member (up to 12, depending on area)) for +/- 66 health.
Glimmer of Light is the only Healing Prayers spell (except Infuse) with 1/4 sec casting time . Because of its short recast time, this skill is spam able.
If you have problems with your energy management, you may choose Healing Light. Healing light has a higher healing output than Glimmer of Light, but a longer cast and recast time. If you choose to play with Healing Light you have to consider using enchantments like Aegis, Protective Spirit,... so that you can get the bonus energy.
Healer's Boon is the best example for a good Healing Prayers elite skill, that only has a passive effect.
While under the effect of Healer's Boon your Healing Prayer Spells cast 50% faster and heal for 50% more Health.
And last but not least Zealous Benediction(ZB), a skill from the Protection Prayers attribute line. This skill has a healing output nearly equivalent to WoH. The disadvantage of ZB is that you need 10 energy to cast it. You only should use this skill if target ally is below 50% health, so that you can get the bonus energy. It may be troublesome if you play together with another monk and you both try to heal the same ally. Because of such coincidences your energy pool can drop to 0 quite easy.
Skills I can heal with that are non Elite
As you might know there are dozens of skills you can Heal with. In this part of the article I will only deal with some of them.
Ok, let us begin with the most popular Healing Prayers Spell Infuse Health(Infuse). For 10 energy and losing 50% of your current health you can heal target other ally for 136% of the life you lost. This Skill has no recast time and a cast time of only 1/4 seconds. This Spell is very common in PvP. The -50% health are of course a big problem, but this skill is the best one to stop a spike.
Dwayna's Kiss. This skill is very popular in PvE. You Heal target other ally for ~50-60 Health and an additional ~30 Health for each Enchantment or Hex on that ally. This skill is very useful if your party uses enchantments. The main disadvantage of this skill is, that it cannot be applied onto yourself.
Words of Comfort. If target ally is under the effect of an condition, that ally is healed for an additional healt. But in contrast to Dwayna's Kiss, the healing bonus does not stack if there are more conditions on target ally.
Healing Touch. The healing output is not that high, but the Divine Favor bonus is doubled. Infuser usually use this Spell to heal them self after an Infuse.
Gift of Health. This Spell has an enormous healing output compared to other 5 energy spells. The disadvantage of this Spell is that all other Healing Prayer skills are deactivated for ~5-6 seconds. Because of that fact this skill is used by monks who primary use Protection Prayers.
Orison of Healing. OoH has a moderate healing output, but a recast of only 2 seconds. It can be applied onto yourself, but takes 1 second to cast.
Heal Other. Heal Other costs 10 enery, takes 3/4 seconds to cast and 3 to recast. This skill find its use as an alternate to Infuse (if combined with Healer's Boon
Skills To Protect Party Members
Let us begin this section with comparing four popular Protection Prayers skills.
vs AND vs
The first Skill up there is Spirit Bond (aka SB). For 8 seconds, whenever target ally takes more than 60 damage from the next 10 attacks or Spells, that ally is healed for XX Health. It costs 10 energy , takes a 1/4 second to cast and 2 seconds to recast. This Skill can be used before your ally is attacked, but also if your ally is below 50% health to heal him up.
Protective Spirits, the second skill above, effect is, that target ally cannot lose more than 10% max Health due to damage from a single attack or Spell. This means that if your ally has 480 health, enemies can only deal up to 48 damage. It costs 10 energy needs 1/4 second to cast and has a recast of 5 seconds. Compared to SP this Skill should only be used before your ally is being attacked.
Both, Protective Spirit and Spirit Bond are only necessary if the enemies damage output is high enough (Spikes in PvP,...).
Now lets look at Shield of Absorption. This Skill costs 5 energy and reduces the damage received by a party member by 5 each time that ally is hit while under the effects of this Enchantment.
Shielding Hands reduces the damage received by a party member by up to 15 points. This Spell also costs 5 energy but takes 5 seonds longer to recharge than Shield of Absorption does.
Compared to Protective Spirit and Spirit Bond, these two Skills are a so called "pressure killer". They are very good against Assasins, Warriors and all other enemies who usually do not deal more than 60 damage with one attack.
Against Physical Damage
In PvP and PvE you will encounter many different physical damage dealer (ranger, assassin,warrior,...). Those classes need a weapon to deal damage. To efficiently prevent damage from those classes you need skills that let you and your allys block their attacks.
Aegis grants you and your party members that are in earshout a 50% blockrate for a specific amount of time. But beware of it's high costs and the 2 seconds casttime. Also note that this skill takes 30 seconds to recharge. If you choose to equip aegis you may choose Mesmer or Elementalist as your secondary profession (You will find an explanation in the secondary profession paragraph).
Guardian grants target ally a blockrate of 50% for ~6 seconds. It takes 1 second to cast and only 2 to recharge. Because of it's short recharge time and it's low costs you can keep it permanently up on target ally, to prevent him from rangers interrupt or pressure assassins attacks.
Shield of Deflection (aka SoD) raises the armor rating of your ally and grants him a 75% blockrate. Since it's nerf (from 5 seconds to 10 seconds recharge) this skill is used rarely.
Bonds are enchantments which can (more or less) permanently be kept on target ally. For each enchantment you have to "pay" upkeep costs (-1 Energy degeneration for each enchantment). But why should you use such skills? Well, bonds can help in many different ways. Some of them prevent damage, others boost health,... Note that you can only keep up 14 bonds, which is equivalent to a -10 energy degeneration (= ~(-3)energy per second).
And now a little overview of some bonds.
Vital Blessing grants target ally up to 200 additional health.
Life Barrier reduces the damage recieved by a party member up to 50%
Life Attunement reduces the damage dealed by target ally for 30%, but that gains up to 50% more health when healed.
Essence Bond lets you gain 1 energy, each time target ally takes physical or elemental damage.
Of course there are more bonds than just those four above. I have only chosen those four to show you the different effects of bonds (reduce damage, raise health, raise healing output, energy management).
You may think now, that a monk does not really need a secondary profession. This conclusion can be true and wrong, depending on the build you are currently playing. Especially in case of Energy Management you will often need skills from your secondary profession.
- Glyph of Renewal.
- For 15 seconds, your next Spell instantly recharges.
- This skill can be very useful if you plan to use Divine Spirit. Because of the 10 seconds recharge time if GoR you can keep Divine Spirit permanently up on yourself.