Enhancements Alpha: Henshin Mystic

After going over the Human racial enhancement and Shintao Monk class enhancement tree from the recent alpha exposure on Lammania, it’s time to look at the long-awaited new, third Prestige class to be introduced when this new enhancement tree format goes live: The Henshin Mystic.

There are serious problems with this new class set that take away not only from its own potential greatness but from abilities originally found in the live Shintao and Ninja Spy enhancements.


Henshin Mystic

Core Abilities: Riddle of Fire, Ki Bolt, Sounding Staff, Incinerating Wave, Cauldron of Flame, Serenity

  • *Riddle of Fire improves your Fire and Force spell power, improves your Fire resistance and detracts from enemies. This improves for each Henshin core ability you choose.
  • PRO: *Ki Bolt lets you shoot off a bolt of ki that deals fire and Force damage. A low-level counterpart to the Grandmaster of Flowers’s Epic Destiny ability, Lily Petal.
  • *Sounding Staff gives improvements to Universal Spell Power as you level the class tree. As a player that doesn’t delve much in the spell casting classes, I’m sure this is a good thing but can’t easily quantify how this improves overall damage.
  • *Incinerating Wave throws a moving firewall, dealing Fire and Force damage that grows as you level. Interesting again, with a caveat for later.
  • *Cauldron of Flame burns any enemies around you with massive Fire damage while you stand in your effect. If you move, the effect ends. Sounds good, but…
  • Serenity is effectively the original Monk heroic Capstone.

Now, why the asterisks above?

As you”ll see in the other tiers, the Henshin primarily deals Fire damage. That’s not going to help against Fire Elementals or those immune to fire–which happen to be the most deadliest foes on Heroic levels: the devils and demons. Nor does the Henshin gain any speed or DR bypassing advantages.

Let’s continue into the tiers.

Tier 1: Elemental Words, Staff Training, Mystic Training, Negotiator, Animal Forms

  • Elemental Words are the same spell-like elemental debuffing abilities from the live Ninja Spy enhancements, which give 10% more acid, cold, fire or electric damage. Like similar abilities in other trees, you can pick one per tier but only one you haven’t chosen in a prior tier. These debuffers might be more handy here than in the Ninja Spy camp, which has its own new negative energy debuffing attacks that I’m excited to use.
  • CON: Staff Training adds +1 to hit and to damage from quarterstaves over several tiers. Really? That’s all? Why should a Monk train in using a staff if the damage is (1) not different from the bludgeoning of unarmed fighting, and (2) is slower than unarmed fighting? A Henshin, in my imagination, should generate superior damage as a master of this weapon. Better than an Acrobat, or even a Fighter. This underwhelming enhancement foreshadows how unimpressive the Henshin tree ultimately becomes as we explore higher tiers.
  • CON: Mystic Training adds up to +3 to your tactical DCs. That’s nice–but since the unarmed class feat Stunning Fist cannot be used with a quarterstaff (requiring one to take the non-class feat Stunning Blow), this is a nearly useless ability for a quarterstaff user.
  • CON: Negotiator gives bonuses to Diplomacy, Bluff and Intimidate (or Haggle–the DDO Wiki page is contradictory). This is a thrown-in ability that wasted on most Monks.
  • If you wondered where the Animal Forms such as the Way of the Patient Tortoise went, you’ll find it in this tier. Once chosen, the forms improve automatically as your Monk levels, and so do penalties from the form, if any.

Tier 2: Elemental Words, Staff Training, Quick Strike, Elemental Ki Strikes, Contemplation

  • Staff Training is the same limited improvement as the first tier, and still lame.
  • Quick Strike adds insult to injury in a staff-wielding Monk that is serious on generating more damage for a brief time, as does an Action Boost. It does not add speed.
  • Contemplation adds ki regeneration, more Concentration and better Will saves. Neither impressive nor bad.

Tier 3: Elemental Words, Staff Training, Lighting the Candle, Embrace the Void, Ability Score

  • Lighting the Candle has some promise by adding deadly Fire and (on critical hits only) Force damage. More damage does come from a staff but some is possible when unarmed. The attack reduces your ki generation on-hit, however.
  • Embrace the Void is a poorly-named enhancement that, like a similarly ill-named Shintao ability, has nothing to do with Void attacks. It adds more Meditation turns, and your ki regenerates faster. More so, you generate a shield that protects you for up to 100 damage and it regenerates every 3 seconds. Battle Meditation, anyone? It reminds me of the gargoyle’s force shield that negates damage while they stop fighting to reheal.
  • Ability Score: The devs couldn’t think of anything else better for this slot, so you can add a point to a stat.

Tier 4: Elemental Words, Staff Training, Focus, Ability Score

  • The three other abilities here are no different from previous tiers, merely improving on what you chose from a prior tier.
  • Focus is a new enhancement that sounds like someone’s been watching a marathon run of “The Matrix” movie series (or played a few of the games). As you meditate, your Universal Spell Power gets a temporary boost, insight bonuses to weapon damage and to-hit, as do your allies nearby.

Tier 5: Void Strike, Staff Training, Balance in Dawn

  • CON CON CON: This is the only place where Void Strike resides as far as I can tell. There doesn’t appear to be any other lesser forms of Void Strike in any other class tree, which means that only the Henshin–and a high-level one at that–has access to this ability. This breaks the Curse of the Void and Moment of Clarity finishers since there’s no low-level Void Strike attack to choose to use these finishers. This is Void Strike IV, effectively, and at a lower level (12 rather than 18). But its placement screws over all other Monks.
  • Staff Training is more of the same wimpy staff upgrades.
  • PRO: Balance in Dawn is something I read about on the forums as the devs told us of the initial Henshin rough-in design. This gives a Henshin the ability to use a Light attack or a Dark attack. So if you chose to be a Dark Monk and train up to get this enhancement, you can add a Light attack with a damaging effect not unlike Divine Punishment. If you kill that enemy fast enough, a 100 point healing burst appears around you. Likewise, a Light Monk can add a Dark attack, which gives negative levels to a target and +2[W] damage. Kill the enemy fast enough and every nearby enemy gets negative levels, too. Further, this gives either philosophy the capacity to activate almost all finishers of a Monk. It’s a fascinating addition–were it not for the fact that you have to find AP to train the Henshin side, sacrificing something more important in the Shintao or Ninja Spy sides to get this or Void Strike back.

Frankly, I am quite disappointed at this new class but reserve a little hope. Henshin Mystics, sadly, aren’t that mystical. There’s little in this class alpha that will pull me away from unarmed fighting since you gain little advantages to doing so–except regain attacks that all Monks should have access to use. If greater speed and elemental damage other than fire is added, then a Henshin can take those Rahl’s Might and Dreamspitter staffs to a whole new level of ass-kickery. Better: Add a mass-knockback spin attack (Neo vs. Smith in The Matrix Reloaded‘s “Burly Brawl” is all the inspiration that the devs need on that idea).

Last but not least, a look at the new Ninja Spy alpha enhancements.


18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. John
    Jun 01, 2013 @ 13:39:55

    A few comments. The first is that it seems the Mystic Training enhancement only improves the DC of finishing moves. Most of these are going to be… Terribly ineffective. If you’re a light path, you won’t have any real DC’s until you get the capstone. Of the finishers, only about 6 or so of them actually have a DC. Earth finisher, Fire Finisher, just about all of the element / dark / element finishers, and Curse of the Void.

    As for the quarterstaff, it really is kind of depressing. The overall bonus of +4 to hit and + 6 damage is really underwhelming ,considering the bonuses one will get in either Ninja Spy (off hand damage alone) or Shintao (the added bonus from d6 to d8, and the continuous gaining of +w from being monk alone). I forsee many Ninja Spies going the route of the Original Rockan Robin. Just enough dexterity to qualify for TWF through tomes, level ups into wisdom, and using Wind Stance. The DPS from that alone would be overwhelming compared to a Mystic using his quarterstaff.

    Thematically, I can see where Henshin gets it’s training in the void, but agree in that lower forms of it being unavailable truly make other monks lackluster. At least in terms of Curse of the Void (as I’m not fond of Moment of Clarity’s duration, and never use it on my live Shintao).

    I like the idea of changing Porous Soul, Static Charge, etc… into a type of stance where you can change the Riddle of Fire into something else, and change the other abilities into something similar. With Static Charge available, Ki Bolt would go toward Electricity and Force, and so on.

    I believe the focus on Fire is a tie to the original PrC from pen and paper. But, as you said, the number of critters who are resistant or immune to fire damage, makes this really difficult. A way to eventually bypass the fire resistance might be something, but even if you place All Consuming Flame with all core tiers of Henshin, that’s just not really going to be enough to make it work. It just doesn’t translate to DDO very well.

    I really, really want to enjoy this PrE. I’m even gathering the items on my Shintao so I can TR into one come the time this becomes live. However, the more I keep reading about it, the less fun it sounds. I’ve been wanting Monks to get Quarterstaff bonuses for a while now, but this is really kind of a downer. Turbine has made this sound more of a caster, than a melee capable monk.

    At least, it’s still in Alpha.

    • teachersyn
      Jun 01, 2013 @ 23:10:25

      I know much of my comments are quite critical, even venomous.It’s not personal, of course, to the devs. Only that the changes shown in the alpha change the class into–something else. Grandmaster of Flowers was a near-perfect synergy between the class and an epic ability. This seems like it was made by completely different people who never played the game before. It’s very weird. I was expecting Henshin to have a little ki-based casting (something novel) but if they are going to hold a staff, it had better be something special. Thus far, it’s not, at all.

  2. geoffhanna
    Jun 01, 2013 @ 19:18:36

    Good catch on the Void Strike

  3. Kavatch2
    Jun 02, 2013 @ 16:46:10

    Mmmh much doom I the future I see.

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  5. kavatch2
    Jun 03, 2013 @ 16:33:07

    The above post is why i should not eat and type, even if it is a small error it is there PERMANENTLY.

  6. ddomicki
    Jun 04, 2013 @ 01:48:41

    😦 only mystics get void strike? But but, it’s my favourite strike after ToD and quivering palm…

    • teachersyn
      Jun 04, 2013 @ 08:24:18

      So far, that’s what I’ve found. The equivalent of Void IV is there at the top of the Henshin tree, but no lesser strikes anywhere else as far as I can find.

    • Kavatch2
      Jun 04, 2013 @ 09:16:07

      I hope QP gets some love, as is its useless in epics and is supposed to be the ultimate blow of an enlightened monk.

      • teachersyn
        Jun 04, 2013 @ 09:50:07

        Quivering Palm works fine on many targets in Epic–but you have to pick your targets. It’s not quite the Assassinate ability of Rogues but it will take down a target if you have very high WIS (38 or better, preferably better) as you need to beat their Fortitude DC. Further, it can’t work on targets with Death Ward or similar protections, so it’s not a universal kill-shot. What I don’t like about QP is that it pulls you out of stealth if you’re using it that way. In Epic quests, that could be a death sentence. Not being pulled from stealth using QP would be a great high-level Ninja Spy augmentation, as I think I mentioned in my review.

        • Kavatch2
          Jun 04, 2013 @ 11:31:04

          It would be nice for ninjas if it didn’t pull you out of stealth but Shintaos can’t sneak and almost the first thing mob mages cast when they see you is death ward, so in my opinion QP really does need to be buffed in some way.

          • teachersyn
            Jun 04, 2013 @ 12:18:21

            All Monks can sneak fine. Many players fail to add enough points to Hide and Move Silently. If you can isolate one target and hit them before they see you, they won’t have time to buff. Beholders, for instance, will see through invisibility and zap you dead, but they can’t see a sneaking player. Many beholders are dead by my toons because of this.Mages are easiest to stun, followed by fighter enemies. Rangers often have high fortitude and are harder to stun. See my Monk’s guide on “The Power of Shadow,” that details how a good stealth build should work: https://sites.google.com/site/bookofsyn/the-power-of-shadow

            • Kabatch2
              Jun 04, 2013 @ 19:43:24

              Fair nuff if people want to put skill points there but for those of us not building sneaks and who see concentration, jump and balance as more useful on a melee especially in a class where int is a dump stat. I still say that QP needs to bypass deathward and deathblock as well as use a monks full level in its dc for those of us who can’t sneak up to a caster before they can cast deathward.

            • Kavatch2
              Jun 04, 2013 @ 19:55:08

              Fair nuff if people want to put skill points there but for those of us not building sneaks and who see concentration, jump and balance as more useful on a melee especially in a class where int is a dump stat. I still say that QP needs to bypass deathward and deathblock as well as use a monks full level in its dc for those of us who can’t sneak up to a caster before they can cast deathward. Then again I may be asking to much and unbalancing the class, but honestly it really does seem like my QP is only mildly annoying to content over level 20 even with 36 wisdom. I Just wish it would scale better.

  7. Mernom
    Jun 04, 2013 @ 07:49:57

    well this IS an alpha..tell turbin it sucks and they’ll fix it,that’s the whole meaning in this preview.

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