Monk Guide by Toxictaru
Monk is the definitive DoT melee job. Specializing in blunt damage using either their hands or staves, they can unleash hell on skeletons and pots, but are still quite useful for other things. They have various applications in end-game, as their 2 hour ability can be devastating (both to the mob and to yourself). Especially useful in Salvage, Monks are more suited to events, and less to HNM, unless called upon to Chi Blast.
Despite what you may hear, all races can excel at Monk. Lower reliance on STR than other melees means your race isn't going to cause you to lag behind. Accuracy plays a big role on how well Monk performs, and typically a good Monk will balance their stats out to include a blend of accuracy and attack. Strength does play a role in Monk weaponskills, but to a much lower degree than others, so you shouldn't always be expected to carry around a strength build. VIT is a major Monk stat, and depending on subjob choices, can actually result in more VIT than PLDs of the same level, it also plays a role in Chakra calculations.
High natural STR and VIT typically result in a very powerful Monk. They also have the largest HP pool in the game, allowing them to push themselves past the limits of other races and take more hits for less damage. A great choice for Monk
Highest natural STR and MND in the game, along with a large HP pool also make Elvaan a good choice for Monk. MND is directly used for Chi Blast damage, making Elvaans a great choice for Chi Blast damage in end-game.
All-around race, being neither amazing nor horrible in any particular regard. Overall, very well rounded.
Highest natural DEX and AGI in the game give Mithra that little extra kick in the Accuracy and Evasion department. Lower VIT and MND stats will not result in amazing Chakra or Chi Blast numbers, but neither are anything to worry about.
Typically considered the worst race for melee, Tarutaru have high natural DEX and AGI, not as great as Mithra, but in the same area, granting Accuracy and Evasion bonuses. Lower natural STR will reduce WS damage, but overall DoT will remain mostly unaffected. Low natural VIT and MND will once again cause problems in the Chakra and Chi Blast department.
Job Traits and Abilities
Various job traits and abilities are available to Monk, from reducing Hand-to-Hand delay to reducing the amount of TP gained by a mob. You can gain significant boosts to attack, evasion and accuracy. Monks also get access to another kind of attack not found anywhere else in the game: Kick Attacks.
Passive job traits available to Monk:
- Martial Arts: Reduces base Hand-to-Hand delay. First upgrade obtained at level 1 reduces delay from 480 to 400, this is the biggest decrease, each subsequest one reduces by 20. Second upgrade is obtained at level 16, reducing delay to 380. Third upgrade is at level 31, reducing delay to 360. Fourth upgrade is at level 46, reducing delay to 340. Fifth upgrade is at level 61, reducing delay to 320, and the sixth and final upgrade is at level 75, finally reducing your base Hand-to-Hand delay to 300.
- Subtle Blow: Reduces the amount of TP a mob gains when being hit. This trait allows Monks to still attack but not kill your party with excessive TP attacks. First upgrade is at level 5, second at level 20, third at level 40, and the fourth and final upgrade at level 65.
- Max HP Boost: Provides a boost to your base HP. First upgrade is at level 15, for a gain of +30 HP. Second is at level 35, for a boost of +30 HP. Third is at level 55, for a boost of +60 HP, and the fourth and final upgrade is at level 75, for another boost of +60 HP.
- Counter: Allows you to occasionally counter-attack an enemies attack, negating damage and instead causing them damage. Counter typically procs more often with more accuracy, so using Focus and Accuracy gear can increase your counter rate. The Job Ability Counterstance greatly increases your ability to counter, but with a massive DEF penalty. Counter is gained at level 10.
- Kick Attacks: At level 51, Monks gain the ability to kick during an attack round. The damage calculation is based on your base Hand-to-Hand skill, with a couple of pieces of equipment that have hidden +DMG to kicks. Typically, though, it is best viewed as an extra attack in your attack round, for extra TP. First upgrade is at level 51, and a second upgrade is available at level 71.
- Penance: MERITED. This trait adds an extra effect to Chi Blast, inhibiting TP gain by a mob by 25% for 20 seconds. Each subsequent upgrade adds an extra 20 seconds to the effect, for a total of 60 seconds.
- Invigorate: MERITED. This trait adds a Regen effect to Chakra. The Regen is 10HP/tic for 24 seconds. Each subsequent upgrade increases duration by another 24 seconds, for a total of 72 seconds. The total HP gained per update is 80 HP, for a maximum of 240 HP regened.
Job Abilities available to Monk:
- Hundred Fists: Level 1. Monks "2hr". It is incredibly damaging, but very easily steals hate. It will reduce your overall delay to a very low number, and basically, you will attack very fast. This can work with any weapon a Monk can equip, including regular H2H weapons, clubs or staves. Lasts for 45 seconds, and can only be used every 2 hours.
- Boost: Level 5. Provides a direct increase to your base attack. It has a hidden effect that increases your Chi Blast damage. The effect lasts for 3 minutes, with a 15 second recast. It DOES stack, up to 12 times, but will wear off if no attacks or Chi Blasts are made before the 3 minute duration wears off. The effect will wear off immediately when striking a mob. Typically used with Chi Blast, a Monk will boost up to 12 times and immediately Chi Blast a mob for a lot of damage. Grants a +12.5% increase to attack, or +18.5% with AF gloves.
- Dodge: Level 15. Increases Evasion by 20, or 30 with AF feet. Effect lasts for 2 minutes, and has a recast of 5 minutes.
- Focus: Level 25. Increases Accuracy by 20, or 30 with AF head. Effect lasts for 2 minutes, and has a recast of 5 minutes.
- Chakra: Level 35. Cures a set amount of HP. The HP received is your VIT*2. With AF body equipped, it becomes VIT*3. With AF body and Relic Gloves, the amount of HP returned is VIT*3.6. It is an instant use ability, with a recast of 5 minutes.
- Chi Blast: Level 41. Unleashes an attack which does damage to a mob based on your number of boosts and MND. Damage calculation is MND*(#Boosts * RandomNumber +1). The random number is between 0.25 and 0.60 without AF gloves, or 0.75 to 1.10 with AF gloves. It is an instant ability, with a recast of 3 minutes.
- Counterstance: Level 45. Greatly increases your chance of Countering a mob, while sacrificing nearly all of your defense. Accuracy and +Counter gear will increase your counter rate. Relic Feet increases the effect, assumed to be by 10%. Your defense is calculated by your total VIT plus any +DEF enhancements from Minne, Berserk effect will lower your defense even further. Duration is 5 minutes with a recast of 5 minutes.
- Mantra: Level 75 MERITED. Grants players in range an Max HP increase. Amount of HP increased is 4%, and each upgrade increases the effect by 4%, for a total of a 12% Max HP increase. Increase is based on the person receiving the effect, not the Monk using it. Lasts 3 minutes, with a 10 minute recast.
- Formless Strikes: Level 75 MERITED. Punches will not count as physical damage for the duration, instead will count as magic damage. Useful for attacking through Invincible or Elementals. The damage dealt is a severe reduction of your actual base H2H damage, by as much as 60%. Each subsequent upgrade increases the effect (damage) by 5%. Lasts 3 minutes with a 10 minute recast.
Typically a Monk really only needs 2 subjobs, the rest are situational. A Monk should have at LEAST Warrior and Ninja leveled to 37, but may benefit from DRK, WHM or THF.
Warrior: Many Monks consider Warrior to be the best subjob available to them. With Attack Bonus and Defense Bonus, Berserk, Defender, and Warcry, Monks are unstoppable powerhouses while using /WAR. The biggest advantage, however, is Double Attack, which can proc on both hands. A level later, you'll gain your first Kick Attacks upgrade, meaning you can very likely land 5 hits in one attack round. The downside to Warrior sub is that Monks can and will be eaten alive by mobs, as they can easily steal hate from even the best tanks. You also have access to Provoke for emergency situations. Monks should use Warrior for as long as possible.
Ninja: Ninja is a typical end-game subjob. Monks will lose access to double attack, but will find themselves pulling hate in the TP burn era where tanks don't quite work the same as they did previously. The major advantage to this subjob is Utsusemi. Try to hold off using this sub for a while, but always have it handy, because EXP and merit parties will expect you to have it.
Dark Knight: This is a very situational subjob, and not a necessary one, however, it is fun to use. A small MP pool with not grant you much in the way of accessible spells, but you will have access to Stun, which is probably the only useful thing you can cast that won't be resisted. The major advantage to this subjob is the combination of Hundred Fists with Souleater, which is very much suicide for a Monk without a dedicated healer... however, the damage output is incredible, and useful on fights that need to be finished fast (Perhaps only truly useful on Dynamis Lord). You will also gain Attack Bonus and Last Resort, which are both useful.
White Mage: Another situational subjob. Mostly used in HNM when direct melee isn't viable, either because of unwanted TP gain, or defense that is far too high. The purpose of using WHM sub is because it provides a direct increase to the MND stat, which is used directly in the calculation of Chi Blast damage. While not always necessary, a Monk should have a good MND build and WHM for just in case. You also gain a small amount of MP and the ability to pop off some handy cures in a pinch. Not a viable EXP sub by any means.
Thief: Mostly used as a farming sub, but can be handy for hate control in the later levels. As Monk gains access to higher level weapon skills, Sneak Attack and Trick Attack can be used to close a Light skillchain with Dragon Kick. It can be devastating to the mob, and should solidify hate on the tank. Flee is always fun to have too. Not necessary, but can break up the monotony of the EXP grind.
Dancer: SE brought us Dancer with Wings of the Goddess. Dancer is a very interesting sub that is proving to be handy in a lot of solo situations. Dancer was designed to be a front-line healer, and as a subjob, you still gain a lot of those abilities. The main advantage is the fact that it relies solely on TP for all healing abilities, and Monk gets a lot of TP pretty quickly. Dancer offers an En-drain effect in the form of Drain Samba, and also grants a TP-based Cure III (Curing Waltz II), as well as an Erase ability (Healing Waltz). You'll also save money on Silent Oil and Prism Power/Shinobi Tabi, as Spectral Jig can cover both for free. Dancer also gets Evasion Bonus and Accuracy Bonus. Coupled with its own abilities, Monk can greatly benefit from Dancer sub in a lot of situations, from solo to events.
- Drain Samba: Gained at Monk level 10
- Evasion Bonus: Gained at Monk level 30
- Curing Waltz: Gained at Monk level 30
- Animated Flourish: Gained at Monk level 40
- Quickstep: Gained at Monk level 40
- Divine Waltz: Gained at Monk level 50
- Spectral Jig: Gained at Monk level 50
- Accuracy Bonus: Gained at Monk level 60
- Box Step: Gained at Monk level 60
- Curing Waltz II: Gained at Monk level 60
- Desperate Flourish: Gained at Monk level 60
- Drain Samba II: Gained at Monk level 70
- Healing Waltz: Gained at Monk level 70
The EXP Grind
I once read someone describe Monk to me this way. It was originally told to me by my wife, who is also a Monk.
Solo Monk to 20, grind the next 55 levels, become a walking God.
From what I've experienced, its mostly true. Monk unfortunately falls under the "Just another DD" blanket. Unless there is a massive shortage of melees, you will be up against a lot of competitions for jobs. It isn't so horrible these days, but there were times where Monks just weren't invited. If you enjoying staticing with people, or have a reliable person that you can set with, consider doing it. I was lucky enough to pair my Monk with a Bard, and got it to 75 in less than 2 months. However, it doesn't particularly change the way you'll play the job.
A typical day for a Monk involves engaging and waiting for TP. True of most melee jobs, of course. Some people like to pop off job abilities like they're out to prove something, but don't get yourself more hate than you need. A bad way to start off a fight is to hit every one of your job abilities. Pace yourself. Don't pop Dodge just because you can, although it isn't typically a bad idea, you'll find that Dodge can save you from taking a hit or two when you don't need to.
As you progress, you'll find a good balance, but one great way of working things is to rotate your job abilities. You should be subbing WAR for most of your time, so conserve some of your more useful ones. A good rotation is the Focus/Berserk rotation. You'll notice that they both have 5 minute timers, one ability lasts for 3 minutes, the other for 2. Save them! If you have Berserk up, save your Focus, and vise versa. Alternate your weapon skills. In the early levels, especially for new Monks (or melees in general), don't use a weapon skill just because you got it. A rule of thumb is that just because you got it at a higher level doesn't mean its better. If you want a good example of this, look at Warrior, who gain Rampage in the mid-50s, and continue using it all the way through end-game.
You'll gain the following weapon skills in your journey to 75. The first few will be given a skill level and an approximate job level, as time spent soloing may give different results, as it is impossible to cap skills for your level on EP/DC mobs, which you'll likely be fighting.
- Combo: Gained upon reaching 10 H2H skill. Approximately level 3. Use this for a while.
- Shoulder Tackle: Gained upon reaching 40 H2H skill. Approximately level 13. Don't bother with this unless you need to stun.
- One Inch Punch: Gained upon reaching 75 H2H skill, at level 24. Hardly useful, don't waste your TP.
- Backhand Blow: Gained upon reaching 100 H2H skill, at level 33. Rotate this and Combo, until you get
- Raging Fists: Gained upon reaching 125 H2H skill, at level 41. This is the first of the WSes that define Monk as a powerhouse. Before this WS, your WS damage is GOOD, but not great. Raging Fists makes Monks look great. Now is when you stop using Combo, rotate Raging Fists and Backhand Blow.
- Spinning Attack: Gained upon reaching 150 H2H skill, at level 49. This WS is AoE, so be careful, it isn't particularly useful in EXP, but can be handy for farming low level mobs, by training and then hitting them all. Save your TP.
- Howling Fist: Gained upon reaching 200 H2H skill, at level 60. Yay, Monk can finally do Distortion. Swap this with Backhand Blow.
- Dragon Kick: Gained upon reaching 225 H2H skill, at level 65. This is the WS to have THF sub leveled. It is used to open or close (preferably close if subbing THF) Light skillchain. Unless you need to do Distortion, use this or Raging Fists.
- Asuran Fists: Gained upon reaching 250 H2H skill, which is at level 70, and upon completing the quest The Walls of Your Mind, which can only be granted and completed when you are level 72. This is THE Monk WS. At this point in time, unless you need a Light skillchain, you use Asuran Fists. This is what makes Monks good.
Now, to explain the rotation. Monks get a decent mix of multi-hit and single-hit WSes. Monk relies heavily on accuracy, which becomes more and more important as you get higher. To rotate, you use Berserk for 3 minutes, and when it wears off, use Focus. By the time Focus has worn off, Berserk should be back up. So what you do is this, when you have Berserk UP, you use single hit WSes, as they're less likely to miss. The useful single-hit WSes that Monk has are Backhand Blow, Howling Fist, and Dragon Kick. The multi-hit WSes are Combo (3 hits), Raging Fists (5 hits), and Asuran Fists (8 hits), and for these, you want to be as accurate as possible, so as to land as many (hopefully all) of the hits, for damage. Hopefully this makes sense, but I'll try to clear it up.
Until you gain Raging Fists, you'll want to Berserk for Backhand Blow and Focus for Combo. When you gain Raging Fists, you'll want to continue using Berserk on Backhand Blow but use Raging Fists under Focus. From there, its a simple matter of following the instruction, replacing as needed. Ultimately, you'll just keep using Asuran Fists and be done with it, it won't matter any more, because people rarely expect you to actually skillchain... but its still good to know. For reference, Dragon Kick is Light, Asuran Fists is Darkness.
Hope I didn't lose anyone back there. You may find yourself in a situation where you stop worrying about it so much. Backhand Blow is actually a pretty good WS, and you may feel that Combo just isn't worth it any more, and thats fine. I came to the same conclusion myself, and I was lazy about hitting different macros. Raging Fists was too good to not use, either under Focus OR Berserk, so when I gained that WS, I stopped rotating all together, as I found it was best. Upon gaining Howling Fist, I'd switch back and forth depending on how good my accuracy was overall; if I found it to be bad, I typically liked to use Howling Fist (and with the recent update, it is actually even better). I also used it for Distortion if called upon. Otherwise, if my accuracy was good, I liked to use Raging Fists a lot, as it really is a powerful WS. When I gained Dragon Kick, I stopped caring, and used it full-time, I found it to be really good. Of course, with Asuran Fists, its best to just use that, and get as much accuracy as you can. By the time you get it, you're probably going to be partying on NIN sub anyway, so worrying about Berserk is really a non-issue.
Thats it. Otherwise you just engage and walk away until you have TP. WS when you can, try not to kill yourself.
A thing that bothers me about a lot of Monks is their constant use of Boost, using it every 15 seconds. Because of the nature of Monk, your typical hits are going to be good, but not absolutely amazing. There is typically a major damage curve that you're in, and you'll find your numbers can be all over the place, hitting from 30 to 70, and everywhere in between. Boost will very rarely make you actually hit over your current max, and its only a 12.5% increase. You might see an extra 2-3 points of damage. That is pointless. Many new Monks don't understand that our true power comes from attacking repeatedly and fast. If you use Boost every 15 seconds, you're more likely than not going to do it in between attack rounds, and using a Job Ability (on any job) in between attack rounds actually resets your delay timer. That means, if you had 1/4 of a second before your next attack and you boosted, you'd get reset back to 0. Over time, that adds up fast, and you'll find that extra 2-3 points of damage (which only procs on the first hit, the FIRST punch) is not worth it. Boost should be reserved for Chi Blast or immediately before a weapon skill. That's right, macro your weapon skills, and make sure you Boost before every single one. That extra attack increase really beefs up your WS. Another thing people don't consider is the amount of hate that Boost actually generates... it is typically accepted that Boost has about 1/3rd the hate of a Provoke, which means if you're Boosting every 15 seconds, you're basically Provoking a mob every 45 seconds or so, and thats bad.
Don't pop Dodge off every opportunity you get. This is once again a hate issue... it generates Enmity that you just don't need. Of course, if suddenly your tank dies and you're the next in line, THEN you hit Dodge, it'll help keep you alive. Save Dodge for the times where you REALLY need that extra evasion.
Chi Blast. Chi Blast is a lot of fun when you first get it. Most Monks are aware of the Boost/Chi correlation by the time they get it, so the first thing most of them do is Boost up on a pull, and blast a mob for 300-400 points of damage. Now, that might not seem like a big number in end-game, but consider that at level 45, most BLMs are pushing to hit that number. Suddenly, the mob is staring at you and the tank can't get it off of you. It typically doesn't ever stop them, but the game has a funny way of letting you know when its time to stop, most Monks will stop doing it when they die as a result. That isn't to say don't ever Chi Blast, it is a great extra bit of damage, which easily adds up over time, pop it off when it comes up, or boost 3-4 times while waiting for the puller to come back, and fire it off, its a decent bit of damage, and it helps. Just beware, at level 50, don't Boost 11-12 times because there is some downtime, and fire it off as soon as the mob gets to camp, otherwise you're facing at least another 5 minutes of downtime.
The big one. Counterstance. Counterstance is a defining ability that Monk has. It dramatically increases your counter rate at the expense of basically all of your defense, you become paper thin against mobs than hit like trucks. While it can save your ass in some situations, you'll find that without meriting your Counter Rate (which will be impossible for an up-and-coming Monk) and possessing Melee Gaiters, you're just going to get killed instead. Don't use it unless you think its ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. If you've ever seen a Monk counter-tank, you'll realize why we can get away with some of the stuff we do, but be aware, a level 75 Monk probably has merits and some good gear to go with it, you're not going to be able to do the same thing at level 45. You've been warned. Also, the ability has hate attached to it, so its just pulling unwanted attention to yourself. Save it for playing until you can really be badass.
You'll also gain Chakra on the way, which gives you the ability to heal some HP and be a little less of a burden on your healer from time to time. The ability will draw hate, but this time its not really worth worrying about, you want to stay alive, and Chakra can help. Use it when you need it, but don't pop it off just cause you can, 2 minutes later you might be dead.
As for subjob uses, typically, you'll want to keep on Warrior sub for as long as possible. Don't hurt yourself by showing up to a party with Utsusemi: Ichi at level 45... you're only hurting yourself. You should be able to handle Warrior sub all the way to 70, but then you really need to consider damage mitigation. I was back and forth on WAR and NIN subs until about level 73, when I went Ninja sub full-time. If you have it, you can spend some time on THF sub in the 60s, no sooner. There are positive benefits to SATA->Howling Fist, but THF sub really shines at around level 65, when you get Dragon Kick, as I've mentioned before. It is situational, but if your party is willing to let you, go for it, it'll be fun for a few levels. The other subs mentioned above are for end-game uses, so don't bother using them in EXP.
That about covers the level grind.
Now that you've made it here, you might as what to do next. If this is your first job to 75, welcome to the land of meriting, I hope your linkshell has told you how it works. I won't get too far in to it, but once you get used to the system (and it doesn't take very long), you can start making some moves to making yourself even better.
Prior to the Group 2 merits, Monk was pretty cut and dry, there weren't many questions on how to do things. Its still pretty simple, but you might want to consider how you're going to play the job at 75.
That said, a good Monk merit layout should look something like this. Merit H2H skill the maximum of 8 times, this is a direct and permanent increase to your H2H skill, and 1 skill = 1 accuracy. I cannot stress the importance of accuracy to a Monk. With 8/8 H2H merits, your skill will sit at 292 when capped at level 75. This is important as you can likely phase a piece of accuracy gear out for something better, if available. Alternately, you could do Critical Hit Rate increases, it will increase your rate of crits by 4%, which adds up huge over time. H2H and crits should be done first, but the order isn't important, but consider that H2H takes more merits to complete.
From there, the progression is however you want it to be, but the best idea is to stick to what works. Monk is a job that relies on Counter when they have hate, because as any Monk will tell you, we get lots of HP and VIT, but we get screwed for high defense gear. Merit Counter 5/5 times, you'll benefit greatly from it. In this TP burn world we live in, we want to gain TP as fast as humanly possible, and Monk has an extra attacking limb to benefit from this: Kick Attacks. If you merit kick attacks 5/5, you're going to see an increase of 5% to your kick attack rate. Thats a lot for TPing. That covers Group 1 merits. You can lower the recast time on Focus/Dodge/Chakra, but its not really worth it.
Group 2 merits are a little blah. Of the 4, the best is really Invigorate. Invigorate adds a Regen effect to Chakra, which essentially just gives you even MORE HP back. I strongly recommend you merit this 3/3, as it will, on top of whatever you Chakra for, give you an extra 240 HP, for free. This adds to our survivability in soloing. Beyond that, its your choice really. I opted for some Formless Strikes merits, as I don't find Penance to be overly useful, and Mantra... well who cares about giving other people a moderate HP increase, it isn't going to help much.
Beyond that, you'll want to consider your next course of action. A melee-centric player should consider fully meriting STR. This is considered the long haul in meriting, the thing no one looks forward to. It takes a long time, but is worth it. Don't prioritize it on Monk, but definitely don't ignore it. Give it a lower priority, but definitely invest in the time, you'll see a WS and damage curve increase. After that, your race should dictate what you need to do. You'll want to invest in either HP or MP merits, depending on future job selection. If you're a Galka or Elvaan, don't bother with HP merits, you have enough already, and your MP sucks, if you ever decide to spend time on a mage job. For Taru, however, your already incredible MP pool means you should invest your time in HP merits. Everyone else, just sort of distribute as you see fit.
Try to spend some time doing other events, you'll find that relic gear from Dynamis can be helpful, especially the city pieces. Melee Gloves obtained from either Dynamis - Jeuno or Dynamis - Qufim are a wonderful addition to any Chakra macro, as it directly increases the VIT modifier, which means more HP back. Melee Hose are good TP pieces, especially with merited Kick Attacks. Melee Gaiters are great for solo, as they give a direct increase to your counter rate (believed to be 10%).
You have a lot of options from here. Spend some time doing sky, if you have time, as there are some great pieces of God gear for Monk. There is Genbu's Kabuto that gives +15 VIT, which is amazing for Chakra, it was a welcome addition to my inventory. Many people will recommend Byakko's Haidate, as they give Haste and +15 DEX, which just means faster attacks and more accuary. Suzaku's Sune-Ate give +15 MND, which is good for Chi Blast. Kirin's Osode is debatable, but I've personally been using it for a while, and haven't found myself really lacking in the DD department for it. You can also obtain abjurations in sky, used for uncursing crafted items. Monk can specifically equip the Shura set, most of which is really good for us, Shura Togi, who's abjuration drops from Kirin himself is often considered to be the best melee piece for Monk overall, but is very expensive to uncurse. Shura Zunari Kabuto gives some STR and Attack, and go well in a WS macro, as well as Shura Haidate.
The world is yours at 75, you'll probably find yourself welcome in any type of Salvage linkshell you can find, simply due to the nature of the event. You might have problems in some other types of shells (HNMs and Monks don't typically go so well together), but overall, you'll find yourself welcome to a lot of things.
Monk is a job that relies heavily on macros. All but one of the Monk AF pieces has some place in a macro, somewhere. While typical of AF, none of the pieces stand out as truly amazing (except for the legs, for Guarding skill, should you have enough for it to be useful), but they have some interesting effects on them. There are enhancements, none of which require the full-time use of the AF itself. You are able to actually equip the relevant piece, trigger the job ability, and swap back to your normal piece of gear, while still gaining the enhanced effect.
- On Temple Gaiters, you'll find that there is an enhancement to Dodge. It gives Dodge an extra 10 evasion, bringing the Dodge effect up to +30 evasion for the duration.
- On Temple Gloves, you'll find an enhancement to Boost. It makes Boost give an attack return of +18.5% while wearing them, as well as a hidden effect for Chi Blast, which greatly increases the damage calculations, as described earlier in this guide.
- On Temple Cyclas, there is an enhancement to Chakra. Chakra on its own gives an HP return of VIT*2. AF body will increase that to VIT*3.
- On Temple Crown, there is a Focus enhancement. It works like Dodge, but gives an extra +10 to your Accuracy instead, lasting for the duration.
- On Melee Gloves, there is another Chakra increase, increasing the modifier by 0.6. A good Chakra macro will include lots of VIT gear, and BOTH your AF body and Melee Gloves (should you have them). The maximum VIT modifier for Chakra is 3.6.
- On Melee Gaiters, as mentioned a couple of times around this guide, there is an enhancement to the Counterstance effect. While no one is entirely sure of the increase, the best of our community have settled on a 10% counter frequency increase.
Basically, carry your AF around with you all the time, and make sure you macro them accordingly. If you can get those two pieces of Relic Armor, even better.
A typical macro for a Job Ability will look like this:
- /equip feet "Melee Gaiters"
- /ja "Counterstance" <me>
- /wait 1
- /equip feet "Your usual foot piece"
The rest of your abilities can be macroed the same way. For Chakra, it'll work a little different, but the idea stays the same. Get as much VIT+ gear as you can (except for hands and body, if you have the respective AF/Relic) and swap in to it, Chakra, then swap back to usual.
Monk should also macro weapon skills. With Boost, you can actually directly increase the damage done on the first hit of your WS. If you don't macro it it, you'll find over time that your damage does decrease, for obvious reasons.
A typical macro for a Weapon Skill will look like this:
- /ja "Boost" <me>
- /wait 1
- /ws "Weapon Skill" <t>
These are very basic macros, and as your gear gets better, or you get more situational gear, you'll find you need to macro accordingly. For example, I do not WS in STR gear at level 75 (as the STR modifier on Asuran Fists is only 10%, therefore not absolutely amazing), but instead I try to stack on more accuracy. Asuran Fists is the definitive WS for Monk, but also raises the problem of being 8 hits. Attempting to land all 8 hits is a chore, especially if you're stacked in STR gear... you're probably going to miss some hits. That STR isn't going to help you if you aren't landing them all, it only marginally increases the damage done on the hits you land. So get a nice accuracy build, and swap it in. The trick to Monk and WS, especially later in the game, with Asuran Fists, is to do everything YOU can to make sure you land all of those hits.
Beyond that, Monk isn't much in the way of macros. We lack any real ranged weapons before level 70, so pull macros aren't worth having. Unless you swap a lot of gear in for stuff, you'll find that while macros are vital to a Monk, there aren't a whole lot. I keep a few macros specifically for swapping in to various pieces of gear based on what I'm fighting and my party layout. I have my typical all-around TP gear layout, I have a Haste set, and of course, for those times when there just aren't enough Bards, an accuracy set. Be creative, but avoid stupid party chat stuff. I don't care if you're using Focus, it isn't affecting my life... but I also don't care about your Super Saiyan Asuran Fists either. KISS is a way of life.
Solo and Small Parties
A good Monk at level 75 with the proper merits thrives in small party situations. Typically what might take hours of shouting and whatnot to set up events can be solved with just one competent Monk. With the right gear and the right merits, a Monk can live for a long time with just a healer and some Haste. Ninja sub is vital to this. Combining job abilities like Counterstance with counter merits will allow you to avoid being hit while trying to put up those shadows, especially when using Focus. Dodge greatly increases evasion, which helps out a lot in avoiding even more hits. Chakra with Invigorate can earn you up to 800 HP back (as a Taru, I Chakra for 360 HP, and then Regen another 240), which is great if your partner is out of MP, or you're alone. A competent Monk can keep themselves alive and kicking a lot longer than most other jobs can.
Another useful skill for Monk is guarding. While not really touched on in this guide, it is an incredible skill to have. It is generally regarded as the hardest skill to cap in the game, across all jobs. Monks typically don't tank in most situations, and therefore don't get and maintain hate for extended periods of time, allowing little chance for guard to even proc, let alone skill up. However, should you get guard high enough, you'll actually see your survivability increase dramatically, as it will proc often. Capping Guard on your Monk can take a very long time, and it is a major undertaking.
Pace yourself, don't try to do too much at once. Start small and work your way up, ultimately, you'll find yourself being able to solo and duo a lot of things you never thought possible.
Many people argue whether or not Monk is a cheap job or an expensive job. I was fortunate enough to inherit or borrow a bunch of my gear, but I earned a lot of it too. If you want to be really good, you'll need to invest time and money, if you want to just EXP, please be aware that your damage output is going to suffer. Also be aware that this is opinionated, I was raised like many others to believe that Monk requires a lot of accuracy when possible, but a nice even mix of both Accuracy and Attack. Some die-hard career Monks swear by full STR builds, but I've found that more often than not, they can't really keep up with damage because they miss more than they should.
Onward! This is gear progression. If you cannot afford a piece, consider farming for it. I'll mark the really important pieces, the must haves, and I'll mark where a piece is good, but probably very outside of price ranges.
This isn't going to be about frugality, the gear is recommended. Typically the HQ versions offer moderate increases, however, at times, there is a direct stat increase not available on the NQ version (Such as the Kenpogi vs. Kenpogi +1). If an HQ is suggested, and but is out of your price range, consider the NQ only if the stat DECREASE is minimal, otherwise, farm.
This section is not for weapons, that'll be covered later, separately.
- Head: Compound Eye Circlet (Lv.9)
- Body: Starter RSE, Kenpogi +1 (Lv.8)
- Hands: Legionnaire's Mittens (Lv.10)
- Legs: Sitabaki
- Feet: Kyahan
- Neck: Wing Pendant (Lv.7). Small AGI boost, evasion is helpful when soloing.
- Rings: None worth noting.
- Earrings: If you can, consider camping an Optical Earring (Lv.10). Ask for help from your LS if not, it is a joke to kill.
- Waist: Nothing worth noting. Consider something that increases defense.
- Back: Nothing worth noting. Consider something that increases defense.
- Ranged: Nothing worth noting until the 50s, so don't worry too much about this. In fact, Monk doesn't really get anything until then beyond pebbles. Happy Egg is fine if you have one.
Beward of Bone armor, as it actually gives a Fire resistance decrease, which can cause pain against Bomb Toss when you inevitably fight Goblins.
- Head: Monk's Headgear (Lv.11) grants a small VIT bonus, but you may find yourself benefiting more from Evasion+5. Mercenary's Hachimaki (Lv.20), STR+1, probably the best for a while.
- Body: Power Gi (Lv.13), useful for a while. Bone Harness +1 (Lv.16) if you feel the evasion is necessary.
- Hands: Battle Gloves (Lv.14). Your first piece of accuracy gear, and they're good. Invest in some, keep them, you'll use them over and over on other jobs.
- Legs: Bone Subligar +1 (Lv.16). Evasion is better than nothing.
- Feet: Bone Leggings +1 (Lv.16). Evasion again.
- Neck: Nothing good here yet.
- Rings: Courage Ring (Lv.14). STR+2, per finger, is the best you're going to get until level 30 or 36. Stick with these for a while.
- Earrings: Bone Earring +1 (Lv.16). Try for HQ on these, the difference is 2 attack, which is pretty big in the earlier levels. So much for that evasion right?
- Waist: Purple Belt (Lv.18). Yay, this is actually really good, despite being purple. This is actually the first piece of gear in the game that gives Haste, and its Monk specific! Use this as long as humanly possible (level 40).
- Back: Traveler's Mantle (Lv.12), small evasion bonus.
- Ranged: Nothing new here, stick to what you've been using.
Enter the Federation gear and the fear of subligaria.
- Head: Empress Hairpin/Emperor Hairpin (Lv.24). This is a bit of a tossup. The DEX+3 is added accuracy, but its a pain to get, either expensive, or from an over-camped and infrequent dropping NM. Big evasion bonus though. Consider this if you have it, or want it, but the level 20 Hachimaki isn't going to kill you either.
- Body: Beetle Harness +1 (Lv.21), upgrade from Bone Harness. Federation Gi (Lv.25) provides some VIT and Evasion. Not particularly useful for Monk, but that Power Gi is getting dated. Don't upgrade if you don't want to, but replace with Mercenary Captain's Doublet (Lv.30). I kinda cheated beacause my RSE was coming up just after that, which I'll deal with in the next level section.
- Hands: Federation Tekko (Lv.25) if you want to just upgrade your hands. Not necessary, as you only stand to lose evasion from them. Included in case you decided against battle gloves. Some people like to start using RSE around now, but RSE hands for the most part are STR hands, which really aren't what you want. Accuracy is better.
- Legs: Beetle Subligar +1 (Lv.21), upgrade from Bone Subligar. Republic Subligar (Lv.25). I hope you aren't Elvaan.... The Republigar is the best piece of gear for Monk until level 72, don't let anyone else tell you otherwise. I know they're ugly, but USE THEM! They're amazing. If you hate them, consider dat swapping or carrying around something else to wear around town, but DO NOT LET THESE PASS YOU BY. And don't fall for Aikido Koshita in the 50s, they're worthless compared to these.
- Feet: Beetle Leggings +1 (Lv.21), upgrade from Bone leggings. Federation Kyahan (Lv.25). Adds a solid amount of attack. Some people stop using these simply based on their level after a while, but short of kick shoes in the 50s/60s/70s, these are the best until level 72... or RSE2 for some races.
- Neck: Spike Necklace (Lv.21). STR and DEX. Use this for a while, unless you're rich, which we'll get to in the next section.
- Rings: Nothing new around this time.
- Earrings: Beetle Earring +1 (Lv.21). You can probably phase out your Optical Earring now, if you bothered to get one, its better to get attack at this point in time.
- Waist: Keep up with the color purple.
- Back: Nomad's Mantle (Lv.24). Small upgrade from Traveler's, gives the same evasion but AGI+1 as well.
- Ranged: If you are Elvaan or Hume, you're in luck. Attar Sachet (Elvaan Female) or Olibanum Sachet (Elvaan Male) give +2 to STR. Millefleurs Sachet (Hume Female) or Balm Sachet (Hume Male) gives +1 to STR (and a useless +1 to INT). Musk Sachet (Galka) gives +2 to VIT, which is handy for Chakra, but doesn't really help out in the way of melee. Civet Sachet (Mithra) gives +1 to both DEX and AGI, which is better than nothing. Tarutaru RSE sachets are useless to anything melee.
Now the good stuff starts showing up. You'll get lots of end-game gear in the 30s!
- Head: Whatever you're using now is probably all you're going to use for a long time. If you're lucky, you might pick up a Sinister Mask (Lv.39). This drops from a Taur NM in Phomiuna Aqueducts. Luck is key here.
- Body: Everything but Elvaan and Galka RSE is useful, if you have it. Hume RSE isn't as useful as Tarutaru or Mithra RSE, but does have some VIT and HP, it could be a decent holdover until Level 40. All RSE body pieces are Lv.33. Jujitsu Gi (Lv.40), do not EXP past 40 without this, its got accuracy and its good for you, and looks good. You'll use it for a while.
- Hands: Ochiudo's Kote/Ochimusha Kote (Lv.34) are both Attack+20. This is an end-game piece of gear, and you need them. You can EXP past this without them, but you're really hurting yourself. Mee Deggi the Punisher drops Ochimusha, the Rare/Ex version, camp him with some friends, you'll love them for it. If you're feeling rich or have a LS that likes to do crap in Riverne, Horomusha Kote (Lv.34) are another option, Attack+15 with no evasion penalty. Once again, your end-game hand piece exists in the 30s. You can upgrade later, but these are good. Combat Caster's Mitts (Lv.40), Attack+5 if you don't have anything else and you think that you can sacrifice Battle Gloves.
- Legs: Republigar.
- Feet: Fed Kyahan. Fuma Kyahan/Sarutobi Kyahan (Lv.39), grants +3% Haste. Useless for Monk without a full Haste build, please don't wear these until far later in the game. You don't need them yet.
- Neck: Peacock Charm (Lv.33) if you're rich, Peacock Amulet (Lv.33) if you're lucky. These are both Accuracy +10, and are both wonderful end-game pieces as well. As both are reasonable hard to acquire, no one will be too harsh on you if you don't have them. If you can't get them, keep using that spike necklace.
- Rings: Rajas Ring (Lv.30), if you've finished CoP, Rajas is an option. Great ring. Venerer Ring (Lv.34) is good, and its a fun quest to do if you've finished your Promyvions. Otherwise, they're not TOO expensive on the AH anymore. Puissance Ring (Lv.36), STR rings only if you don't have any other choice. Jaeger Ring (Lv.35), only if you have access to Riverne, and only if you have an LS that likes farming these rings and sallets. Sniper's Ring (Lv.40) and Woodsman Ring (Lv.40), both are Acc+5, which is the big stat, Sniper's +1 are NOT mentioned here simply because they are very expensive, so no one really expects you to have them. These rings are all good, with Rajas, Jaeger and Sniper's/Woodsman all being end-game options.
- Earrings: Stick with the beetle earrings.
- Waist: Brown Belt (Lv.40). This is reasonably hard to acquire, moreso if Monk is your first job. It requires that you've completed the Purple Belt quest, and that you kill 3 NMs, one of which is actually fairly hard, called Morbolger. He is also a 21-24hr timed spawn NM. Brown Belt is awesome to have, but if you can't afford one or can't actually camp one, don't get too upset, but make sure you eventually try to work for one!
- Back: Remains the same.
- Ranged: Ok... yes... Monk got screwed on Ranged. Use Sachets if they are useful to you.
Just passing your time before AF.
- Head: Voyager Sallet (Lv.41), if you're lucky enough to have a LS that likes Riverne. Not a necessity, but nice anyway. Otherwise, stick with what you have. One interesting piece to note is the Crow Beret (Lv.50), as it gives a significant decrease to Enmity, which may be useful if you're having problems, get one if your current head piece is crappy.
- Body: Stick with the Juji Gi.
- Hands: Nothing worth noting in this range.
- Legs: Republigar.
- Feet: Fed Kyahan.
- Neck: Nothing worth noting in this range.
- Rings: Ulthalam's Ring (Lv.50). Only if you've finished ToAU. Otherwise, stick with what you have.
- Earrings: Stick with what you have, you're going to upgrade them soon.
- Waist: Life Belt (Lv.48). This has accuracy+10. If you don't have a Brown Belt, get this. If you DO have Brown Belt, get one anyway, but don't use it unless you absolutely have to. Another option is Swift Belt (Lv.50). I've yet to see a Monk actually use one of these, but they can... requires a steady progression through CoP though, and I really wouldn't bother.
- Back: Jaguar Mantle (Lv.47). Fun little quest line. It isn't entirely necessary to get one of these, as it might be hard to do the quests or even to afford. Don't strain yourself here.
- Ranged: Sachets if they were useful to you. Otherwise... *glares at SE*
AF Macro time!
- Head: Stick with what you're using. You may want to invest in a Crow head
- Body: Scorpion Harness (Lv.57). You need this, this is Accuracy+10. Its major. You can flake out and use Temple Cyclas (Lv.58) for accuracy+5, but seriously, why bother? Monks should have a harness, its end-game, and a great solo piece. GET IT!
- Hands: If you have failed to obtain any of the really good level 34 Kotes, replace whatever you were using with Temple Gloves (Lv.54).
- Legs: Republigar. Don't get the +Counter pants, they make you look stupid for wasting money on Counter pants. Strike Subligar (Lv.60), if you get these, you can use them to replace Republigar for TPing, but keep the subligar with you, as you can swap them in for WS... not necessary but use them if you have them.
- Feet: Kung Fu Shoes (Lv.51). While they don't look like much, they actually have a hidden effect of Kick Attack Damage+25. That isn't +25 points of damage, it works basically the same way the damage rating works on H2H weapons. If you can't get these, don't stress, keep using your Federation Kyahan and you'll be fine. In fact, keep the Kyahan even if you get the kick shoes, because the kick shoes don't help with WS damage.
- Neck: Now is the time to get rid of that spike necklace if you didn't get a PCC/PCA. Stop and get a Chivalrous Chain (Lv.60). It has accuracy+5 and STR+3... If you can't get anything else, get a Chiv Chain, its the best option you have short of a PCC/PCA. Don't EXP past 60 without one or the other.
- Rings: Toreador's Ring (Lv.57), INCREDIBLY expensive ENM reward, if you have these, why are you even reading this guide? Otherwise use whatever you've been using. There is a STR ring upgrade here at 54 if you're still going that route, but the HQs of these are getting expensive, so it'd probably be cheaper to get Accuracy rings at this point. Ultimately, if you're using HQ 36 STR rings and can't get any better, don't bother here, as the NQ 54s have the same STR. Otherwise, you're golden. Avoid Tiger Rings.
- Earrings: Spike Earring (Lv.55). This is your next earring upgrade, and its a significant one. Make sure you get them. Even NQs are better than your level 21 earrings at this point, but shoot for HQ.
- Waist: Nothing new to report here.
- Back: Nothing new here either.
- Ranged: FINALLY Tiphia Sting (Lv.58). This is the last thing you'll be equipping in your Ranged slot on Monk (unless you get the Sanction Chakrams at level 70). This is a great piece of gear, and you really should have one. Toss that egg in the pan and put on this bee stinger. Smart Grenade (Lv.54), if you can't afford a Tiphia Sting, but you have Wings of the Goddess, consider questing this, as it has a hidden effect of Attack+4... but beware, it can still be thrown.
- Head: Optical Hat (Lv.70). You need this, it has accuracy+10 on it. Stop EXPing and start working on a Hakutaku Cluster. You'll thank me and everyone else for it later. Yes it sucks, but its a necessary evil.
- Body: Sticking with the Scorpion Harness is best.
- Hands: Nothing really here. There are some RSE2 options, but typically they're STR-based, and not going to help out a lot. Alkyoneus's Bracelets (Lv.70) are also in this level range, but once again, they're pure STR, and are known to parse about the same as O.Kote. Save your money.
- Legs: Republigar. You're getting out of it soon, calm down.
- Feet: Few options here. One, you can get Kung Fu Shoes crafted up to Wulong Shoes (Lv.66), but check your AH prices, you might want to consider keeping the Kung Fu Shoes intact, as typically Wulongs are cheaper. The difference is +25 kick damage vs. +27 kick damage. Your call though, getting Kung Fus crafted to Wulongs is only going to cost you about 1k, so just choose wisely. There are also Dune Boots (Lv.70), the last in the line for kick boots, which offer kick attack damage +30, these are the best damage pieces for your feet in regular TP gear. I know I say to stay away from STR gear, but sometimes there isn't anything better and its just time to upgrade, so Taru and Hume RSE2 feet are pretty much acceptable at this point in time. Everyone else... FED KYAHAN.
- Neck: If you haven't gotten a PCC/PCA or a Chiv Chain by this point, you probably don't care about Monk.
- Rings: Nothing worth noting.
- Earrings: Minuet Earring (Lv.62) is great for BRD parties. Merman's Earrings are basically the end-game attack earrings though, beyond mission/quest rewards. Triumph Earring (Lv.67) only if you feel like having a STR build.
- Waist: Black Belt (Lv.70). Arguably the definitive piece of gear for Monk. Can be hard to obtain without ties to the HNM community, as it requires drops from Fafnir/Nidhogg, Adamantoise/Aspid and Behemoth/King Behemoth (or from their generic counterparts in KS99s). The quest is part of the belt quest line, meaning you need to complete both the Purple and Brown belt quests first. Probably the best all-around piece for Monk in the waist, giving STR+7 and Haste+12% (which is the same as the Haste spell).
- Back: Amemet Mantle +1 (Lv.61). You need this. Its the last piece of good gear that you NEED. The NQ is fine if you're cheap, but the HQ is godly. The only thing better for Monk costs about 1M more than this, and only offers 1 more STR. Get this.
- Ranged: At level 70, you can equip Fenrir's Stone. While not AS useful as the Tiphia Sting, it gives a Daytime bonus of +30 HP, and a Nighttime bonus of Evasion+10. Tiphia Sting shouldn't be replaced outright, but Fenrir's Stone can have its uses in some situations. While not OVERLY useful in the grand scheme of things, if you have the appropriate mercernary rank (Superior Private), you may want to invest in a Chakram that is purchased with IS. Most people have a lot of IS anyway, so getting one isn't anything major. While the benefits are only active in very specific areas, these are great weapons for throwing skillups, if you decide you need to skill it up.... Consider these toys, and not something you NEED for your EXP setup.
Sooo many options.
- Head: Keep with the Optical Hat. Some people swear by Haste builds, which is fine, but if your accuracy is suffering, Optical Hat is best. Otherwise, the only other real choice is Walahra Turban (Lv.75). Those are the easy choices. There are others, such as Shura Zunari Kabuto (Lv.73) or Melee Crown (Lv.75). Usukane Somen (Lv.75) is a very handy Salvage piece which can remove about 3 pieces of gear from your inventory.
- Body: You get 5 choices for body pieces. Scorpion Harness, Pahluwan Khazagand (Lv.72), Shura Togi (Lv.73), Kirin's Osode (Lv.75) or Usukane Haramaki (Lv.75). All have different uses, but overall, you'll find Shura Togi is the best piece Monk can equip on their body that is reasonable to obtain. Osode offers a STR bonus, which is probably best served for WS. Pahluwan offers the same accuracy as the scorpion harness, but also increases your critical hit rate, so it is a viable piece of gear if you don't have anything else, and has a major plus of being free among body pieces that are expensive (it is an Ilrusi Atoll Assault reward). Usukane body is expensive but very nice as it offers a lot of accuracy, which can free up other slots for more attack or even STR.
- Hands: Few choices again. The natural upgrade to the level 34 pieces is Bandomusha Kote (Lv.73), they offer only a slight increase in Attack though, but hey, they're free. Melee Gloves (Lv.73) are also good, and can easily replace O.Kote. Expensive and somewhat hard to get, Noritsune Kote (Lv.74) are probably not worth it unless you actually managed to get them from Tiamat. Usukane Gote (Lv.75) would also be acceptable, however, are very difficult to obtain (Salvage).
- Legs: Yes, get rid of the Republigar now. Rasetsu Hakama (Lv.72) are the next best thing. Melee Hose (Lv.72) are highly desirable for the increase in Kick Attack frequency, increasing TP gain. Shura Haidate (Lv.73) offer accuracy and strength bonuses. Byakko's Haidate (Lv.75) are highly desirable, but difficult to obtain without putting a lot of time and effort in to sky. The definitive piece for Monk, however, is Usukane Hizayoroi (Lv.75), which offer great increases to attack and strength, as well as Haste, however are very difficult to obtain. Less commonly seen are Barbarossa's Zerehs (Lv.75), which offer Strength and Haste as well, and are a rare drop from Ashu Talif battles.
- Feet: Ideally, you'll have kick shoes and something to macro in for WS. Otherwise, everything else is situational gear, however Usukane Sune-Ate (Lv.75) are considered to be the best foot piece a Monk can get, offering stat increases to all major Monk stats. For a Haste build, or for reducing your Utsusemi timers, consider Fuma Kyahan/Sarutobi Kyahan now. Alternately, you can use Fuma Sune-Ate (Lv.72), which have the same amount of Haste, but with an AGI and HP boost. Not useful in a DD build, more useful for recast timers and tanking.
- Neck: If you have a PCC/PCA, you're fine. If you have a Chiv Chain, merits will help, and try to get yourself a PCC/PCA. Faith Torque (Lv.73) is the only other option, and it parses about the same as PCC/PCA, so don't strain yourself.
- Rings: Whatever you have now is probably best. Ruby Rings (Lv.72) offer STR, if you want a STR build, but STR builds will better be served by Flame Rings, which offer STR+5. Rubies are cheap, Flames are expensive. Neither are particularly worth it for Monk.
- Earrings: A few options. Brutal Earring (Lv.75) grants Double Attack, which is great with the loss of WAR sub, the difference is the earring offers 5% double attack, whereas WAR sub offers 10% double attack. Its still worth it though. Ethereal Earring (Lv.72), reward from Apocalypse Nigh, offers Attack+5 and Evasion+5, over the other earrings with an evasion penalty. Hollow Earring (Lv.72) is another reward from Apocalypse Nigh, also giving a DEX and Accuracy bonus instead. Either is acceptable. Bushinomimi (Lv.72) is a reward from Divine Might... choose this earring for Monk only if you don't plan on leveling any job that might use Dual Wield, otherwise, go Suppanonmimi. Monk really doesn't benefit from the STR here, but why not, if you're not going to get something else. As these are all "end-game" rewards (with the AN and Limbus earrings being the hardest to get), you'll be fine using Coral/Merman's earrings.
- Waist: Nothing.
- Back: Forager's Mantle (Lv.71). The only piece better for your back after Amemet +1. Many people can't justify the purchase of a Forager's based solely on what it actually increases. Ultimately, you'll spend about 1M more than an Amemet+1 for ONE more STR. Not really worth it, but if you have money to spare. Melee Cape (Lv.70) is useful for Chakra.
- Ranged: Nothing.
Level 70+ gear is really subjective, and this isn't all of the pieces. You'll do best to experiment on your own in the 70s to see whats best for you. You'll find that as you do more and more stuff on Monk, you'll require more and more gear for situations. A full Haste build (that is, making the Haste-from-gear cap of 25%) is great, but don't consider one until you can get the appropriate gear, which requires Byakko's Haidate and Black Belt. You may benefit from DEF/VIT builds where you'll be tanking (Salvage) or Evasion builds for solo. A solid TP set (not Haste) will include stuff that helps you attack more times in a round, typically from Brutal Earring and Melee Hose along with Kick Attack merits.
A big mistake Monks can make is mixing and matching Haste gear with other stuff. Brown/Black Belt have haste on them, and should be used regardless, but you're probably not going to benefit greatly from the 3% haste on Fumas if you aren't going to pair it up with other gear. However, if you insist on using Haste wherever you can, please wait until you've fully merited H2H to make up for the bonuses you'll inevitably be losing.
Hand-to-Hand is unique in the grand scheme of things. Damage is calculated differently than all other skills. H2H damage is calculated by taking your H2H skill and multiplying by 0.11, and then adding 3. That is your base damage, without any weapons equipped. When you add a weapon, you'll find that it, in fact, simply gives a +X to damage and delay. That is, the number is outright added to your base damage and delay. A weapon with +10 Damage and +60 delay will add 10 to your base H2H damage and increase your overall delay by 60. Simple.
While Monk DOES benefit from higher damage and lower delay weapons like everyone else, you'll find that the actual damage increase is debatable, sometimes. That means you don't absolutely have to upgrade every time you possible can... typically what you have can last for a while. Once you get a feel for how everything really works, you'll be able to identify what is worth upgrading to, and what is worth skipping. However, I will include an outline that any Monk can follow and benefit from.
- Level 1-10: Cesti +1 (Lv.1). Very low level synth, the HQs are worth the money. Damage +2, delay +43. These are good for a while.
- Level 10-15: Tropical Punches (Lv.10). They have a lot of accuracy and no delay, but are low damage. Some people swear by them, but I didn't. Instead, check out Legionnaire's Knuckles (Lv.10), which offer DMG+4, DELAY+96, along with Accuracy+2 and Attack+3.
- Level 15-30/32: Republic Knuckles (Lv.15). Your first pair of knuckles that last for any period of time. These give you DMG+6 and DELAY+76, Accuracy+2 and Attack+3. They're good. Use them until 30 or 32, depending on how you feel about Kirata.
- Level 30/32-38: Boreas Cesti are Rare/Ex and drop from an NM in Beaucedine Glacier called Kirata. Boreas are really good because they have additional effect: Wind that procs 100% of the time, meaning you are actually doing a lot more damage, overall, without realizing it. They have DMG+6 and DELAY+48, making them good all around. However, if you don't feel like spending your time camping, Impact Knuckles (Lv.32) are also pretty good, and are fairly common, as they are a consolation drop from Mee Deggi. They have DMG+8 and DELAY+86, along with STR+1 and Accuracy+3. Use either.
- Level 38-48: Mythril Knuckles +1 (Lv.38). Your next big upgrade has DMG+10 and DELAY+91, with Accuracy+3. These are great. They last for a while, but can be replaced if necessary (for monetary purposes) with Tourney Patas (Lv.40), which have DMG+11 and DELAY+96. I recommend sticking with the Mythril though.
- Level 48-50/52: Patas +1 (Lv.48) give DMG+15 and DELAY+86, and are really good.
- Level 50/52-66: Cross-Counters/Retaliators (Lv.50). These can be used through to end-game if you'd like, they have DMG+19 and DELAY+96, with Counter+5 and Accuracy+3. They are really good, but hard to acquire, so don't push yourself to try and get some. If you do get these, consider swapping them out in the 70s. If you don't, T.M. Hooks +2 (Lv.52) is the next upgrade. DMG+16 and DELAY+71, along with Attack+10, make these suitable to also take to the 70s.
- Level 66-72: Feral Fangs (Lv.66). DMG+19 and DELAY+96 have actually made these a recent recommended stop-over for Monks. TM Hooks were typically acceptable until 72, and still are. These are relatively cheap, as the NQ is more desirable (used in a PUP attachments quest).
- Level 72-73: Wagh Baghnakhs (Lv.72), DMG+13 DELAY+60. These have a latent effect of DMG+18, as well as two hidden effects of Attack+14 and Accuracy+5. Both the Latent and Hidden effects are ONLY active while you have 100TP or less (you will get this bonus during weapon skills, as your TP is reduced to 0 before you actually hit the mob). These things are good, except they'll probably decrease your overall DoT a little in the Mire when you get on Imps, as you'll not be able to WS as often as you'd like.
- Level 73-75: Destroyers (Lv.73). DMG+5 and DELAY+48 make these look less than attractive, but any Monk will tell you that looks in this situation ARE deceiving. They have a latent effect of DMG+18 and Critical Hit Rate +6%. These are the best weapons you can get for Monk short of fully upgraded relic, and have been shown to parse closely to relic in testing. The latent is triggered after you obtain 500 Weapon Skill points. It works the same way as breaking the latent on your Trial Knuckles for Asuran Fists. 1 point for every WS you do or 2 for closing a level 1 skillchain (1 point for the WS and one for the skillchain), 3 for closing a level 2 skillchain and 5 for closing a level 3 skillchain. Find a buddy that can either do Darkness or Light with you, and spend some time in Kuftal Tunnel. Your damage will thank you. Every Monk should work to get a pair of these, although they can be a pain in the ass, as they only drop from KSNM30s, specifically Copycat and Double Dragonian. Most Monks will do Double Dragonian, as it typically is easier to do, with a better drop rate. As I said, short of relic, these are the best you can get.
- Level 75: Spharai (Lv.75). DMG+23 and DELAY+86. Attack+20. Hidden effect: Attacks can occasionally do triple damage, approximately 5% of the time. Grants the relic weaponskill, Final Heaven. This should be any Monks wet dream, for good reason. They are absolutely wow. They are also fully upgraded Relic, which can take years and millions of gil to accomplish. Not for the faint of heart, but if you have a Dynamis linkshell willing to fund these for you, congratulations.
Chi Blast Gear
Beyond the scope of this guide, but if you're called upon to Chi Blast in end-game, consider stacking up as much MND as humanly possible. There are a LOT of options out there, and you can easily achieve +70 to +80 MND from gear alone. Monks are being called on less and less for Chi Blasting, so don't worry too much about having a well-rounded MND set. If you know that you will be, or don't have other jobs you might use in situations where Monk is not terribly useful, most of the gear for +MND is not too expensive. Of course, with enough boosts, your Chi Blast will still do a decent chunk of damage, so just use your head. Find what looks best and store it.
The biggest problem is the addition of a lot of extra gear, between melee, Chakra and MND gear, you might find that you'd like to be able to carry around 40-50 pieces of gear at any time, which severely limits what you have for space. Don't prioritize MND gear over Chakra gear, as you'll better benefit from that. However, if you're going to only be a Monk, for ever and always, building the set can be helpful for those rare times where they call on you to Chi Blast something.
Woah, ok. So I managed to make it through this. Monk is an absolutely amazing job to play. With so much power at your fingertips, you'll find yourself in great demand for nearly everything in the game, from tanking in Salvage, to Chi Blasting Kirin and Jailer of Love. In Dynamis, we can smash through Invincible, or even melee stones if necessary, all using our abilities. While not overly effective on HNM, due to our low PER-PUNCH damage, we still have our place, and a well-equipped and experienced Monk can handle a lot of things a lot of people and jobs cannot.
Never forget that you live and die by accuracy and attack. If you are lacking in either, you'll find yourself lacking in damage. To be the best you can be, invest your time and money and GET that good gear.
But above all else, play the job to have fun. Monk isn't for everyone, as is true of any job in this game, but learning this job is learning how to walk the fine line of Hate, knowing when and HOW to push yourself can prove life-saving, for not only you, but for everyone else. Remember, before TP burn, Monks were the first jobs to allow for high chains, in the basement of KRT. As a Monk, the world will open up to you, and you'll be desired for events. Enjoy it.
I cannot guarantee that this guide will make you the best. It is only a guide. I also don't recommend you follow it to the letter, because you're not learning how to play your job, you aren't learning your necessary skills. You will need to make the mistakes that I'm telling you to avoid, simply to understand why they are mistakes, and how you can work around them. You will probably not have access to the same gear, but if you follow it, you're never going to have problems with your damage output. Guides are meant to be exactly that, guides, a way to help you through... but they are no replacement for experience, and hell, thats what this game is really about.
Now go punch things.