Last Sunday I have stumbled over one of those useless cloth items again: One fitted with intelligence and agility. Really, Blizzard should add a Monk based, cloth wearing class at some point. Anyway, I wondered to myself, if any of the existing clothies could be played in the vein of a monk class. Bare-fisted fighting would be out, of course. But a staff type weapon should fit the idea nicely. I actually started reading up about what the attributes strength and agility currently do for the three classes in question, the Mage, the Warlock and the Priest. Seems they all get attack rating from strength and critical strike rating as well as dodge rating from agility. A plan for a new project began to form in my head.
The basic idea is a meleeing cloth wearer using a staff type weapon. Spells used in combat should be instant spells, as a monk class would deliver spell effects with a touch of his hands. Or possibly his weapon. Any spells with a casting time are out. I would prefer him not to blast his way through his enemies with a barrage of spells. Melee damage should be a significant part of his damage. Say, at least 30%, better 50%. Crowd control spells will be allowed, although they have a casting time, simply for convenience.
I checked the talent trees of the three applicable classes to get an impression of what useful talents might be around. While doing that, I came to the conclusion, that a Warlock would play very similar to any other warlock. “Put dots on the target, use filler spell”. Only in this case the filler would be a few swings with a staff instead of a Shadow Bolt or two. So I ruled out a Warlock.
For the Priest, discipline has some value because of stronger shield, Reflective Shield, some general damage reduction and Pain Suppression. Penance looks nice, because it has both offensive and defensive uses. But it is a channeled spell. I am currently unsure, if that would be acceptable for the monk like play style. The holy tree offers an instant cast healing spell, an additional damage spell, the Lightwell and Guardian Spirit. Finally a shadow priest would offer damage reduction, mana regeneration, self healing, spirit turned to hit rating, instant damage added to Devouring Plague and generally more damage from shadow spells. Looks like a shadow spec would be my likeliest choice on a priest.
On Mages I found the arcane tree to have only a few goodies, all on tier three. The fire tree looks somewhat promising with all the enhancements to Fire Blast, Blazing Speed and instant Flamestrike. Frost, on the other hand, seems too centered around casting ice spells to get enemies frozen and activate Fingers of Frost.
So, a shadow Priest or a fire Mage look like good candidates to me for building a Monk like character. I will play two test characters for a few levels to get an indication of how well the idea might work.