The Diablo 3 Monk is a distinct class and doesn’t seem to have a very strong resemblance to any of the classes from the original Diablo or Diablo 2 games. While he has been compared with the Assassin from Diablo 2 or even the Paladin from World of Warcraft, the Monk is perhaps most similar to an arcade style fighting game character.
Lore & Appearance
The Monks are sacred fighters and are mainly short-ranged melee fighters, although perhaps not as much as the Barbarian. Clearly bearing an East Asian influence, the Monk does not originate from the Island nation of Xiansai (where the Wizard is from). Instead, the Monk’s origins fuse eastern European monasteries with the shaved head warrior monks from Shaolin.
The monk is taken to a monastery at a very young age, where they learn many skills, most importantly martial arts. Unlike the more headstrong Wizard, the Monk serves a higher organization, the Elder Monks of the monastery. He is a less headstrong, more patient man and can defeat enemies with just his fists.
While the female monk has undoubtedly taken a backseat to the male Monk, the concept art has generally been accepted by the community. The female Monk sports blonde hair and became famous due to remarkably realistic cosplay by a Blizzcon attendee.
Gameplay wise, the Monk has been structured unlike any other character in the Diablo universe. While overtly appearing to be a tanky melee fighter with some healing abilities (ala Paladin), the Monk relies on combos as his primary source of damage. This system has drawn comparisons with fighting game characters and is a unique concept for a Blizzard game. The earlier combos have been designed to be easier for beginners, but the later ones are more difficult to pull off and provide depth for veteran players.
Item wise, the Monk is one of the more limited characters and will primarily use fist weapons or two handed combat staves. Bashiok, a Blizzard employee, famously stated that “Bruce Lee would not use a shield and neither would the monk”. For more about the Diablo 3 Monk skill tree, visit the Diablo Wikia.