Brawlers have gotten a bad rap for tanking since the beginning of EverQuest II, and I've always found this to be a shame. For those that have chosen to play a brawler, we have found a class that is so unique, versatile, and just plain fun. For those that have played with a skilled brawler, you know how valuable they can be to a group. I hope players can learn to give this class a chance in groups and in raids, and the brawlers can fine tune this amazing class and overcome the stigma that we seem to have developed as fighters.
What are the differences between a monk and a bruiser? I'll be honest. I really don't think there is a huge bit of difference between these classes. I would love to see more variation here, (wink wink to the devs!) but that is a crusade for another day!
As the evil brawler, bruisers are more aggressive than monks are. You'll find that they get more attacks, and the ability to fear. Monks are more protective with a high end group feign and healing abilities. It is also speculated that overall, bruisers tend to do more damage than monks, but that can be a debatable point depending on how each class stacks their achievement points and gear. In the end, the real differences between a bruiser and a monk are styles and starting city!
Soloing with a monk isn't all glory and ease all of the time. I think that monks do fairly well solo, but you won't be taking on those yellow heroics on your own. I keep my combat arts on my spell bars arranged by type of CAs, so I have my stuns and stifles together, my taunts, and my damage CAs all organized. I suggest that while solo, you keep a good balance between your damage CAs and your stuns, alternating enough to keep the mob from hitting you too much. The name of the game here is to minimize the damage you take, while maximizing the damage you put out.
Monks get a neutral stance that combines features from both our defensive and offensive stances. This stance is great to use while solo, and is actually the only time it should be used.
For your achievement abilities, as a soloer you will benefit more from the strength or stamina line for the brawlers, and down the combos line for the monk APs. These will help beef up your damage output for more effective soloing.
Brawlers have the ability to be the fill in for spots in groups. Need a main tank? Switch to your defensive stance and you'll do just fine. Rather play DPS tonight? Go offensive and toss up your attack rate buff, and you can!
As a main tank, I am very careful with aggro management, as most monks will need to be. We don't get a wide array of taunts, so we have to make great use of what we have. This means upgrading them to master the very earliest you can afford to, and making your choices wisely when those training spells become available. If you group a lot as a tank, you will want to upgrade these before you even think of upgrading your damage CAs. It will also be important that you are making the most you can from your stances. Because monks are lighter armor than the other tanks, we need the protection of our stance to make life a teeny bit easier on our healers.
If you find that you are filling the role of main tank often, and if this is the position you desire, you will want to take a look at your monk APs and sink points into your taunts and buffs. These will give you the most grouping bang for your buck as DPS is a bit less important when you are playing the MT role.
Bruisers will follow the same basic technique that the monks do. You have a bit more in the way of stun/damage combos, so make use of them! The mob can't hurt you as much if you keep it stunned at regular intervals. Unfortunately, bruiser don't have the benefit of a neutral stance line for soloing, so you'll have to play with your stances to find what works best for you. I'd suggest offensive over defensive to burn down your target as quickly as possible. You also have to make do without the monk heal, but fear when you need to, just watch the tight spaces for friendly mobs.
As with the monks, versatility is what bruisers are all about! As main tank, watch your group and make sure you are keeping control over the mobs in your encounter. You may have to ask the big damage dealers to ease on their damage until you've established hate, but there is no shame in that.
As DPS, since you've played the other side of the coin, there is just no excuse for a brawler that nabs aggro with their DPS. Be sure to keep an eye out for where the mob is targeting, so if it is hitting you, you can either feign, or let up for a moment so that the tank can re-establish the aggro.
As always, watch your stances and switch accordingly. Nothing is more annoying than a tank in offensive stance as the poor healer is struggling to keep them alive.
Questions or comments? Please e-mail me!
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