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Solving the Double Monk Issue IV

Andrew Corpuz Posted:
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In this final part of the series on the Double Monk Formation (DMF), we continue discussing major gameplay changes, including the popular suggestion of making monk C-class! This part arguably carries the best ideas so keep your eyes peeled!

On guard!

Category G: Increasing the Amount of Friendly Skills

There currently aren't many alternatives to Holy Guard that benefit a row of mercenaries; a player is most usually going to place HG on a row whenever he is able since there isn't much else that can be done to buff that row. If a significant number of friendly skills are increased, then there will be less reason to place Holy Guard. Strategically, adding a significant amount of these category of skills can change the mechanics, making buff and support equally as imperative as dealing direct damage.

1) Passives

Summary: While passive skills don't affect players under HG, the skills usually don't affect enough mercenaries (in a typical formation) or don't provide enough of a buff to prevent the user from placing HG. Since passives can stack extremely well and with zero effort in battle, an increase in the number of passives will keep players from using HG on characters under the effect of multiple passives. However, because they are passive (not requiring thought to activate in battle), the addition of more passive skills is not as an effective tool as adding other types of friendly skills.


  • Players are forced to invest in a wider variety of skills, and will be able to build strong builds without HG


  • FL mechanics may become too dependent on formation planning rather than on performance skill

Suggestion Rating: B

2) Active Buffs/HoTs

Summary: There are currently only five active buff and heal-over-time skills in the game: Seth's Will, Brtual Will, Shooting Stance, Noble Sacrifice, and of course, Holy Guard. Compare this to over 18 debuff and damage-over-time skills, and it's quite obvious why players use Holy Guard with significantly more regularity than placing active buffs. When a player places HG on a mercenary with an active buffs or HoT, the player is consciously removing something beneficial. In other words, HG removal of active buffs or HoT skill requires the player to sacrifice the skill's benefit.Pros:

  • Importance of long-term strategy within battle; increased thought to positioning
  • Certain control skills (freezing, silence, etc.) will have counters other than HG
  • Mercenaries will be blessed with buffs and hampered with debuffs simultaneously, creating more intricate situations


  • Too many buffs can lead to increased sloppiness, confusion, and lag

Suggestion Rating: A

3) Nonbuff Single Effect Skills

Summary: Since they can only be placed while there is no HG, single Effect skills such as Blessing of Life and Healing are useful in discouraging excessive HG. HG was designed to have a major drawback -- a mercenary under HG can not be healed. However, current balance demonstrates that two monks can replace the need for powerful heals. With a wider variety of single effect skills such as an AP Boost, there could be less reason to HG. Because single effect skills are stronger than active Buffs/HoTs on any one turn, the psychological effect of being hampered from aiding a mercenary under HG becomes even more greatly amplified if more of these skills are added.


  • In any given turn, given a certain number of activations, players may have to decide between using HG or a wider array of single effect boosts


  • There isn't much that can be boosted by a single effect skill other than what already exists (HP and MP)
  • May not affect DMF enough; player can still HG after all effects have been applied

Suggestion Rating: C

These skills hardly make SMF's obsolete. Intelligently placed and well-timed Holy Guards can still protect key mercenaries from damage at the right times, enough reason to keep one monk.

Even though increasing the strength (rather than the amount) of current passive buffs, active buffs, and single effect friendly skills would also help lessen the power of double monks, most of these types of skills already in existence are strong enough on their own. Increasing the strength of those skills would exorbitantly increase the prevalence and need of the mercenaries which have those skills and the mercenaries which are most affected by those skills. Since these mercenaries are already prevalent, this would create more imbalance rather than correcting it.

Similarly, a buff skill that increases healing for characters with low mdef can decrease the need for HG; however, it would exorbitantly increase the survivability of low mdef characters and need for healing characters.

Currently, all top division 1 builds have no weakness. Each build carries each of the four major pillars: 1) stun pressure & scroll cancel, 2) direct damage through spike or snipe, 3) tank and turtle with healing, and 4) crowd control through AP drain and debuffs.

Already full, these builds would be unable to take on another pillar if one were to be introduced. Depending on implementation, the introduction of a fifth major pillar, 5) buff and support, will force players to possess incomplete builds, potentially increasing formation variety.

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Andrew Corpuz